Elevated serum heparanase-1 levels in patients with pancreatic carcinoma are associated with poor survival

Cancer. 2006 Feb 1;106(3):532-40. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21648.


Background: It has previously been shown that heparanase-1 (HPR1), an endoglycosidase, is up-regulated in pancreatic carcinoma. The purpose of this study was to test whether serum HPR1 levels in pancreatic carcinoma patients are elevated, and whether higher serum HPR1 levels are associated with a shortened survival.

Methods: Serum HPR1 levels in 40 healthy donors, 31 pancreatic carcinoma patients, and 11 patients treated with gemcitabine were measured by a novel enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay. HPR1 expression in tumors was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining. Patient overall survival time was determined according to the Kaplan-Meier method, and their difference was evaluated by the log-rank test. A P value<0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The mean serum HPR1 activity in pancreatic carcinoma patients was 439+/-14 units/mL, compared with 190+/-4 units/mL in the control serum samples from healthy donors. Serum HPR1 levels were significantly higher in patients with HPR1-positive tumors (660+/-62 units/mL) compared with those with HPR1-negative tumors (241+/-14 units/mL). The mean survival of 19 pancreatic carcinoma patients with serum HPR1 activity>300 units/mL was 7.9+/-0.2 months, whereas the mean survival of 12 patients with serum HPR1 activity<300 units/mL was 13.3+/-0.6 months. A Kaplan-Meier plot of the patient survival curve followed by log-rank test revealed that patients in the high serum HPR1 group had a significantly shorter survival compared with those in the low serum HPR1 group. Mean serum HPR1 activity decreased by 64% in 11 pancreatic carcinoma patients after 2 weeks of treatment with gemcitabine.

Conclusions: Serum HPR1 activity in pancreatic carcinoma patients was found to be significantly elevated, in particular in those with HPR1-positive tumors. Increased serum HPR1 activity was associated with a shorter survival in patients with pancreatic carcinoma patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glucuronidase / biosynthesis*
  • Glucuronidase / blood
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Up-Regulation


  • heparanase
  • Glucuronidase