Objectives: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a potential key factor in multiple myeloma. Conversion of pro-HGF to its active form is a critical limiting step for its biological effects. We aimed to examine the levels of the most potent activator, the hepatocyte growth factor activator (HGFA), in serum and bone marrow plasma of patients with multiple myeloma.
Methods: The activated form of HGFA was measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in serum (n = 49) and bone marrow plasma (n = 16) from multiple myeloma patients, and in serum from healthy controls (n = 24).
Results: The median concentrations of activated HGFA in myeloma and control sera were 39.7 (range 6.2-450.0) and 17.6 ng/mL (range 4.8-280.6), respectively. The difference was statistically significant (P = 0.037). The median concentration of activated HGFA in bone marrow plasma was 6.1 ng/mL (range 3.5-30.0).
Conclusion: We here show for the first time that the activated form of HGFA is present at high levels in serum and bone marrow of myeloma patients, thus providing a necessary prerequisite for the activation of HGF.