Creatine kinase BB isoenzyme levels in tumour cytosols and survival of breast cancer patients

Br J Cancer. 1996 Feb;73(3):386-90. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1996.66.


Creatinine kinase BB (CK-BB) is elevated in many tumours including those of the breast. We have recently described a new, highly sensitive and specific method for measuring CK-BB, based on monoclonal antibodies and time-resolved fluorometry. Using this method, we quantitated CK-BB in 172 breast tumour cytosols and examined the associations between CK-BB and other clinicopathological variables and patient survival. High CK-BB levels were seen more frequently in tumours from patients who were younger (age < 50 years), patients who qualified for chemotherapy and patients with oestrogen receptor-positive tumours. No association was seen between CK-BB and tumour stage, grade, size, histological type or the progesterone receptor. In univariate analysis, the risk of relapse or death was higher in the group with tumours containing high CK-BB levels but the difference did not reach statistical significance. In multivariate analysis, the risk of death was statistically significantly higher in the high-CK-BB group. Analysis of subsets of patients revealed that patients with oestrogen receptor-negative cancer have higher risk of death if their tumours contain high levels of CK-BB. Our data suggest that, in general, CK-BB is associated with more aggressive tumours but its value as a prognostic indicator is limited. CK-BB content of breast tumours may be more useful as an aid in selecting therapy directed at inhibiting this enzyme activity and thus depriving tumour cells of their energy source.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism*
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Regression Analysis
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Isoenzymes
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Creatine Kinase