Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Many studies have been conducted to investigate plasma arginine, arginase, and nitric oxide (NO) levels in patients with different types of cancer, and it has been suggested that these might be important factors for patients with cancer. In the present study, plasma arginine, arginase, and nitric oxide levels were evaluated in patients with esophageal cancer. Materials and methods: A total of 100 patients (51 females and 49 males) diagnosed with esophageal cancer but not yet operated on were included in the study. The mean age of the study population was 62.03 ± 12.4 years. Patients treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy were excluded. The control group included 80 subjects (38 females and 42 males) with a mean age of 57 ± 12.4 years. Plasma arginine, NO levels, and arginase activity were measured. High-performance liquid chromatography, Griess reactions, and modified Geyer and Dabich methods were used to detect the arginine levels, NO levels, and arginase activity. Results: In patients with esophageal cancer, plasma arginine concentrations were significantly lower and NO levels and arginase activity were significantly higher than in the control groups (P < 0.0001, P < 0.0001, and P = 0.005, respectively). The sensitivity of arginase and NO were estimated at 87% and 89%, with respective specificities of 65% and 66%. Between the patients with and without distant organ metastasis, there were no significant differences in arginine/NO levels and arginase activity (P > 0.05). Similarly, there were no significant differences in these parameters between the patients with squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma (P > 0.05). Conclusion: The results demonstrate that plasma NO levels and arginase activity may be used as markers for the diagnosis of esophageal cancer. However, larger and more comprehensive studies are needed.


Esophageal cancer, arginase, arginine, nitric oxide

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