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1.  Serum anti-Müllerian hormone predicts ovarian response and cycle outcome in IVF patients 
Purpose
This prospective study was designed to investigate whether anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels at basal and ovulation triggering day are associated with ovarian response and pregnancy outcome for in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Method
60 infertility women undergoing IVF were prospectively studied. On day 3 of the menstrual cycle (D3), measurements of AMH, inhibin B, FSH, LH, and E2 and ultrasound evaluation of antral follicle count (AFC) were performed. Serum AMH and inhibin B levels were remeasured on the day of hCG administration (DhCG). The outcome measures were the number of retrieved oocytes and clinical pregnancy.
Results
Number of retrieved oocytes was statistically significant and correlated with D3 AMH, AFC, DhCG AMH, DhCG inhibin B, FSH, and age (r = 0.885, 0.874, 0.742, 0.732, −0.521, −0.385, respectively). Statistically significant differences were found between pregnant and non-pregnant women regarding D3 AMH and AFC. Multiple regression analysis for prediction of pregnancy showed D3 AMH to be a good predictor of clinical pregnancy.
Conclusion
AMH correlates better than age, FSH, and inhibin B with the number of retrieved oocytes. Serum basal AMH may offer a better prognostic value for clinical pregnancy than other currently available markers of IVF outcome in our preliminary study.
doi:10.1007/s10815-009-9332-8
PMCID: PMC2758947  PMID: 19768530
Anti-Müllerian hormone; IVF; Ovarian reserve; Pregnancy
2.  The Immunoexpressions and Prognostic Significance of Inhibin Alpha and Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotrophins (hCG) in Breast Carcinomas 
Purpose
Pregnancy and hCG treatments are considered essential for inhibiting breast cancer. The effect of hCG is accompanied by the synthesis of inhibin, a transforming growth factor involved in cell differentiation and proliferation. Inhibin is considered a tumor suppressor, but its role in the breast is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and tissue distribution of the expressions of inhibin-α and β-hCG in breast cancer, and their prognostic relevance with other biological parameters.
Materials and Methods
334 of formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissue blocks were selected, and then immunostained for inhibin-α and β-hCG. The inhibin-α expression was compared with those of β-hCG, ER, PR and HER-2/neu, as well as the tumor characteristics and recurrences.
Results
Inhibin-α and β-hCG were expressed in 87 (26.0%) and 44 cases (13.2%), respectively. Inhibin-α was found in 25.1% of infiltrating ductal carcinomas (67/267), 26.7% of intraductal carcinomas (8/30), 33.3% of lobular tumors (3/9), 80.0% of apocrine carcinomas (4/5) and 21.7% of the other types (5/23). Inhibin-α was correlated with β-hCG (p<0.0001), PR (p=0.010) and HER-2/neu (p=0.021). HCG was focally expressed in the cytoplasm of the conventional types, but the apocrine type displayed diffusely intense cytoplasmic staining, which correlated with histological tumor types (p<0.001).
Conclusion
Inhibin was significantly correlated with the expressions of hCG, PR and HER-2/neu. Therefore, it might be a useful marker in the prevention and hormonal treatment of breast cancer, such as hCG and progesterone. HCG was expressed significantly higher in the apocrine type than the conventional types, suggesting it can be a useful adjunct in differentiating other cancer types.
doi:10.4143/crt.2005.37.4.241
PMCID: PMC2785916  PMID: 19956521
Breast neoplasms; Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG); Inhibins
3.  Male Central Precocious Puberty: Serum Profile of Anti-Müllerian Hormone and Inhibin B before, during, and after Treatment with GnRH Analogue 
We aimed to describe the functional changes of Sertoli cells, based on the measurement of serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and inhibin B during treatment with GnRHa and after its withdrawal in boys with central precocious puberty. Six boys aged 0.8 to 5.5 yr were included. AMH was low at diagnosis in patients >1 yr but within the normal range in younger patients. AMH increased to normal prepubertal levels during treatment. After GnRHa withdrawal, AMH declined concomitantly with the rise in serum testosterone. At diagnosis, inhibin B was elevated and decreased throughout therapy, remaining in the upper normal prepubertal range. In patients with testicular volume above 4 mL AMH remained higher in spite of suppressed FSH. After treatment withdrawal, inhibin B rose towards normal pubertal levels. In conclusion, AMH did not decrease in patients <1 yr reflecting the lack of androgen receptor expression in Sertoli cells in early infancy. Serum inhibin B might result from the contribution of two sources: the mass of Sertoli cells and the stimulation exerted by FSH. Sertoli cell markers might provide additional tools for the diagnosis and treatment followup of boys with central precocious puberty.
doi:10.1155/2013/823064
PMCID: PMC3845850  PMID: 24324495
4.  Urinary gonadotropin fragment (UGF) measurements in the diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer. 
UGF is a small peptide present in the urines and tissues of patients with gynecologic cancers. Published research (which, at present, mainly comes from our laboratory) on the general application of UGF as a tumor marker, and on its use in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, is reviewed, and new studies on its use, alone and with CA125, in the management of patients with ovarian cancer, are presented. In 234 healthy women, 89 with benign disease, and 79 with ovarian cancer, UGF levels were above 3 fmol/ml (low cut-off) in 12 percent, 7 percent, and 82 percent, respectively, and above 8 fmol/ml (high cut-off) in 1.7 percent, less than 1.1 percent, and 59 percent, respectively. Similarly, 11 percent, 14 percent, and 70 percent, respectively, had CA125 levels above 35 U/ml (low cut-off), and less than 1.9 percent, 1.2 percent, and 49 percent had levels above a 200 U/ml (high cut-off). Ideally, the higher UGF and CA125 cut-offs should be used for diagnostic applications, like differentiation of a benign from a malignant pelvic mass (false-positive rate: UGF, less than 1.1 percent; CA125, 1.2 percent), but raising the cut-offs diminishes sensitivities for malignancy (UGF, 59 percent; CA125, 49 percent). The populations detected by the two markers only partially overlap, however, so that, together, UGF or CA125 can identify 75 percent of malignant pelvic masses. Levels of UGF (cut-off, greater than 3 fmol/ml) and CA125 (35 U/ml) were also monitored in 30 women undergoing therapy for ovarian cancer. Clinical observations were reflected at each clinic visit by UGF alone in 67 percent, by CA125 alone in 57 percent, and by UGF and CA125 together in 87 percent of cases. While separately UGF and CA125 levels predicted 71 percent and 57 percent, together they forecast 86 percent of recurrent cancers prior to clinical manifestations. UGF and CA125 should be used together in the detection and management of ovarian cancers.
PMCID: PMC2589077  PMID: 2596125
5.  Novel Family of Gynecologic Cancer Antigens Detected by Anti-HIV Antibody 
Objective: The reactivity of gynecologic cancer proteins with monoclonal antibody (MAb) directed against the human immunodeficiency virus I (HIV-I) was tested.
Methods: Cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins, extracted from a broad range of gynecologic cancers obtained during standard surgical procedures, were tested in Western blotting with MAb 5023 developed against the amino acid sequences 308–322 of the envelope protein gp120 of HIV-I.
Results: Three cell membrane proteins, Mrl20,000 (p120), Mr41,000 (p41), and Mr24,000 (p24), and one chromatin protein, Mr24,000 (p24), were detected by MAb 5023 in invasive, poorly differentiated cervical squamous-cell carcinoma; ovarian serous cystadenocarcinoma; poorly and well-differentiated endometrial carcinoma; vulvar squamous-cell carcinoma; and malignant mixed müllerian tumor. The same antigens were identified in cervical carcinoma cell line SiHa. Neither p120 nor p24 was recognized by other MAbs directed against the variable loop of gp120. Antigens p120 and p41 were undetectable in normal ovarian tissue and in biopsy samples of normal vaginal and rectal mucosa. Rectosigmoid cancer as well as colon carcinoma, lung carcinoma, and melanoma cell lines all tested negative.
Conclusions: The identified antigens may represent either the products of human genes (proto-onc-ogenes) or, more likely, the products of an unknown virus specifically expressed in female cancer.
doi:10.1155/S1064744994000608
PMCID: PMC2364385  PMID: 18475387
6.  Prediction of Postchemotherapy Ovarian Function Using Markers of Ovarian Reserve 
The Oncologist  2013;19(1):68-74.
Chemotherapy results in transient or permanent ovarian failure in the majority of women. Prechemotherapy assessment of serum anti-Müllerian hormone may be useful for predicting postchemotherapy ovarian function. This finding has implications for decision making about adjuvant endocrine therapy in premenopausal women treated with chemotherapy.
Learning Objectives
Explain the association between clinical factors and postchemotherapy ovarian function.Explain the association between biochemical markers and postchemotherapy ovarian function.Discuss the role that age and anti-Müllerian hormone may play in prediction of postchemotherapy ovarian function status.
Background.
Reproductive-aged women frequently receive both chemotherapy and endocrine therapy as part of their treatment regimen for early stage hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Chemotherapy results in transient or permanent ovarian failure in the majority of women. The difficulty in determining which patients will recover ovarian function has implications for adjuvant endocrine therapy decision making. We hypothesized that pretreatment serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and inhibin B concentrations would predict for ovarian function following chemotherapy.
Methods.
Pre- and perimenopausal women aged 25–50 years with newly diagnosed breast cancer were enrolled. Subjects underwent phlebotomy for assessment of serum AMH, inhibin B, follicle-stimulating hormone, and estradiol prior to chemotherapy and 1 month and 1 year following completion of treatment. Associations among hormone concentrations, clinical factors, and biochemically assessed ovarian function were assessed.
Results.
Twenty-seven subjects were evaluable for the primary endpoint. Median age was 41. Twenty subjects (74.1%) experienced recovery of ovarian function within 18 months. Of the 26 evaluable subjects assessed prior to chemotherapy, 19 (73.1%) had detectable serum concentrations of AMH. The positive predictive value of a detectable baseline serum AMH concentration for recovery of ovarian function was 94.7%, and the negative predictive value was 85.7%. On univariate analysis, younger age and detectable serum AMH concentration at chemotherapy initiation were predictive of increased likelihood of recovery of ovarian function.
Conclusion.
Prechemotherapy assessment of serum AMH may be useful for predicting postchemotherapy ovarian function. This finding has implications for decision making about adjuvant endocrine therapy in premenopausal women treated with chemotherapy.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2013-0145
PMCID: PMC3903057  PMID: 24319018
Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Ovarian function; Anti-Müllerian hormone
7.  Mechanism and preclinical prevention of increased breast cancer risk caused by pregnancy 
eLife  2013;2:e00996.
While a first pregnancy before age 22 lowers breast cancer risk, a pregnancy after age 35 significantly increases life-long breast cancer risk. Pregnancy causes several changes to the normal breast that raise barriers to transformation, but how pregnancy can also increase cancer risk remains unclear. We show in mice that pregnancy has different effects on the few early lesions that have already developed in the otherwise normal breast—it causes apoptosis evasion and accelerated progression to cancer. The apoptosis evasion is due to the normally tightly controlled STAT5 signaling going astray—these precancerous cells activate STAT5 in response to pregnancy/lactation hormones and maintain STAT5 activation even during involution, thus preventing the apoptosis normally initiated by oncoprotein and involution. Short-term anti-STAT5 treatment of lactation-completed mice bearing early lesions eliminates the increased risk after a pregnancy. This chemoprevention strategy has important implications for preventing increased human breast cancer risk caused by pregnancy.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00996.001
eLife digest
Pregnancy changes the probability that a woman will later develop breast cancer. If a woman’s first pregnancy occurs before her 22nd birthday, the chances of developing breast cancer are reduced. However, if the first pregnancy occurs after her 35th birthday, there is an increased risk of breast cancer. It is not clear why this age-related difference exists, but as more women wait until their 30s to start a family, there is greater urgency to understand this difference.
Breasts undergo extensive changes during pregnancy. This remodeling makes their cells less likely to multiply, and also less likely to develop tumors, which could explain the protective effect of pregnancy for younger women. But why would older women not reap the same benefits? One hypothesis is that older first-time mothers are more likely than younger first-time mothers to already have breast tissue with cells carrying cancer-causing mutations, or to have clusters of abnormal precancerous cells.
Now, Haricharan et al. have tested this hypothesis by inserting two cancer-causing genes into female mice. Half of the mice were then made pregnant and allowed to nurse their young, whilst the other half were never mated. Although, both groups of mice later developed tumors, the mice that had been pregnant developed more tumors and did so faster.
The increased cancer levels in the mice that had been pregnant were not due to them having more precancerous cells at the early stages of pregnancy than the unmated mice of the same age. Further, the precancerous cells in the impregnated mice did not proliferate faster than those in the mice that were never pregnant. Instead, pregnancy weakened the protective process that culls pre-existing precancerous cells. These cells evaded destruction by activating a signaling pathway called the STAT5 pathway in response to pregnancy hormones.
Haricharan et al. also examined tissue samples from women with a very early form of breast cancer and found elevated levels of STAT5 in tumors from women who had been pregnant compared to those who had not been pregnant.
The good news is that precancerous cells do not always become cancerous. However, for those women with a high risk of developing breast cancer, Haricharan et al. suggest that temporarily reducing STAT5 activity after pregnancy with medication might reduce this risk. Treating mice with anti-STAT5 drugs for a few weeks after they finished nursing their young lessened the elevated cancer risk, and so the next challenge is to see if this approach will also be effective in human clinical trials.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00996.002
doi:10.7554/eLife.00996
PMCID: PMC3874103  PMID: 24381245
STAT5; pregnancy; breast cancer; chemoprevention; Human; Mouse
8.  Serum anti-Müllerian hormone and antral follicle count as predictive markers of OHSS in ART cycles 
Objective
To evaluate predictive role of day–3 serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels and antral follicle count (AFC) in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in patients undergoing IVF/ICSI cycles.
Materials and methods
Forty-one women with moderate/severe OHSS and 41 age matched women without OHSS were compared to evaluate the predictive value of certain risk factors for OHSS. AFC, and E2, FSH, LH, AMH, inhibin-B levels measured on day 3 of the menstrual cycle before controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.
Results
Mean FSH was significantly lower (p < 0.0001); and mean LH, AFC and AMH were significantly higher in women with OHSS compared to women without OHSS (p = 0.049, p < 0.0001 and p < 0.0001, respectively). There was no significant difference in inhibin B (p = 0.112) and estradiol (p = 0.706) between the groups. The ROC area under curve (AUC) for AMH presented the largest AUC among the listed risk factors. AMH (AUC = 0.87) and AFC (AUC = 0.74) had moderate accuracy for predicting OHSS while Inhibin B (AUC = 0.58) and LH (AUC = 0.61) had low accuracy. The cut-off value for AMH 3.3 ng/mL provided the highest sensitivity (90%) and specificity (71%) for predicting OHSS. It’s positive (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV) were 61% and 94%, respectively. The cut-off value for AFC was 8 with 78% sensitivity, 65% specificity, 52% PPV and 86% NPV.
Conclusion
Measurement of basal serum AMH and AFC can be used to determine the women with high risk for OHSS.
doi:10.1007/s10815-011-9627-4
PMCID: PMC3241835  PMID: 21882017
Antimullerian hormone; Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome; Antral follicle count
9.  Anti-Mullerian-hormone levels during pregnancy and postpartum 
Background
The number of unintentionally childless couples is increasing as more couples seek to conceive for the first time in the third or fourth decade of the woman’s life. Determination of ovarian reserve is an essential component of infertility assessment. The Anti-Müllerian-Hormone (AMH) seems to be the most reliable predictor of ovarian reserve. In this study we analyzed AMH in a cohort of pregnant women without fertility impairment to determine age-dependent decline and possible AMH fluctuations during pregnancy and postpartum.
Methods
A total of 554 healthy women aged 16 to 47 years without history of infertility or previous surgery on the ovaries were enrolled in the study between 1995 and 2012. In 450 women, a single measurement of AMH was taken during pregnancy, allowing for cross sectional analysis of trimester- and age-related differences in AMH levels. For another 15 women longitudinal data on AMH levels for all trimesters was recorded. In addition, for 69 women AMH was measured at the time just before and after delivery, and for another 20 AMH was measured just before delivery and once on each of the first four days after delivery. We used AMH-Gen-II ELISA (Beckman Coulter, Immunotech, Webster, USA) for the assessment of AMH levels. Non-parametric statistical tests were used to compare AMH levels between age groups, trimesters and postpartum.
Results
Comparison between the trimesters revealed a significant difference in AMH values at each trimester (first trimester: 1.69 ng/ml (IQR 0.71–3.10), second trimester: 0.8 ng/ml (IQR 0.48–1.41), third trimester: 0.5 ng/ml (IQR 0.18–1.00)). AMH significantly dropped during the course of pregnancy and immediately after delivery, whereas an increase was observed over the first four days postpartum. Women, greater than or equal to 35 years, showed significant lower AMH levels than those <35 years across all trimesters.
Conclusions
AMH levels decrease during pregnancy. The decline in AMH levels during pregnancy indicates ovarian suppression. AMH levels recover quickly after delivery. AMH levels assessed in pregnant women are not an accurate indicator of ovarian reserve, since AMH levels during pregnancy seem not to be independent of gestational age.
doi:10.1186/1477-7827-11-60
PMCID: PMC3724719  PMID: 23844593
Anti-mullerian hormone; Pregnancy; Postpartum; Ovarian suppression; Ovarian reserve
10.  A Pilot Study of Predictive Markers of Chemotherapy-Related Amenorrhea Among Premenopausal Women with Early Stage Breast Cancer 
Cancer investigation  2008;26(3):286-295.
Background
Premenopausal women treated for early stage breast cancer (ESBC) are at risk for chemotherapy-related amenorrhea (CRA). Prospectively-validated, predictive markers of CRA are needed.
Patients and Methods
Premenopausal women with ESBC and planned chemotherapy (≥ 25% risk of amenorrhea) were evaluated. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, Inhibin A and B, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), and quality of life (QOL) were prospectively evaluated pre-, post-, 6 months and 1 year post-chemotherapy and correlated with age and menstrual status. CRA was defined as absence of menses 1 year post-chemotherapy.
Results
Forty-four women were evaluated at the time of analysis. Median age at diagnosis and FSH 1 year post-chemotherapy were higher among women with CRA (44 yrs [33–51] vs. 40 yrs [31–43]; p = 0.03; 39.8 vs. 5.0 mLU/mL, p = 0.0058, respectively). Median estradiol 1 year post-chemotherapy was higher among women who resumed menses (108.3 vs. 41.3 pg/mL, p = 0.01). Pre-chemotherapy median Inhibin B and AMH were lower among women with CRA (33.2 vs. 108.8 pg/mL; p = 0.03; 0.16 vs. 1.09 ng/mL, p = 0.02, respectively). The risk of CRA was increased among women with lower pre-chemotherapy Inhibin B (RR = 1.67, p = 0.15) and AMH (RR = 1.83, p = 0.05). Amongst women whose pre-chemotherapy Inhibin B and AMH values were below the median, the incidence of CRA was 87.5%.
Conclusions
Results indicate that pre-chemotherapy Inhibin B and AMH are lower among women experiencing CRA and may be predictive of CRA among premenopausal women facing chemotherapy for ESBC.
doi:10.1080/07357900701829777
PMCID: PMC2883164  PMID: 18317970
Amenorrhea; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Premenopausal; Quality of life
11.  Relation between single serum progesterone assay and viability of the first trimester pregnancy 
SpringerPlus  2012;1(1):80.
This study was designed to detect the relation between serum progesterone and viability of pregnancy during the first trimester. Prospective study carried out in Al-Rashid Maternity and Ahmadi Kuwait oil company hospitals, over three years from February 2009 to February 2012. Two hundred and Sixty (260) pregnant women were hospitalized due to vaginal bleeding and/or abdominal pain during the first trimester of their pregnancies and were included in this study. Women included in this study were; sure of dates, conceived spontaneously with no history of infertility and had a positive serum pregnancy test. 2 ml blood samples were taken for women included in this study for serum progesterone assay. Women included in this study were followed by ultrasound for the viability of the pregnancy till the end of first trimester and the outcome of their pregnancy were recorded, while women with exogenous progesterone support or multiple pregnancies or suspected ectopic pregnancy or Hydatiform mole were excluded from this study. Data were collected and statistically analyzed to detect the relationship between serum progesterone level and viability of pregnancy during the first trimester. The mean age of the studied population was 32.7 ± 5.1 years, the mean gestational age at progesterone assay was 9.7 ± 0.5 week and by the end of the first trimester, women included in this study were classified according to the viability of their pregnancies into; viable pregnancy group 178 (68.5%) cases and non-viable pregnancy group (ended by miscarriage) 82 (31.5%) cases. The mean serum progesterone of the studied population was significantly high in viable pregnancy group (46.5 ± 7.4 ng/ml) compared to non-viable pregnancy group (9.9 ± 4.8 ng/ml), (p <0.05). In this study; 6.7% of viable pregnancies had serum progesterone level <10 ng/ ml, while 20.7% of non-viable pregnancies had serum progesterone level >10 ng/ml, the serum progesterone at cut off level 10 ng/ml was 79.3% sensitive to diagnose non-viable pregnancy and was 93.3% specific to diagnose viable pregnancy. Also, in this study; 1.1% of viable pregnancies had serum progesterone level <20 ng/ ml, while 4.8% of non-viable pregnancies had serum progesterone level >20 ng/ml, the serum progesterone at cut off level 20 ng/ml was 95.1% sensitive to diagnose non-viable pregnancy and was 98.9% specific to diagnose viable pregnancy. Serum progesterone is a reliable marker for early pregnancy failure and single assay of its serum level can differentiate between viable and non-viable pregnancies.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-1-80
PMCID: PMC3568470  PMID: 23420141
Serum progesterone; Viability; First trimester pregnancy
12.  Anti-Müllerian Hormone and Inhibin B Variability during Normal Menstrual Cycles 
Fertility and sterility  2009;94(4):1482-1486.
Objective
Describe anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) variation across normal menstrual cycles.
Design
Cohort study
Setting
Academic environment
Patients
Twenty regularly-menstruating women
Interventions
Serum AMH and inhibin B assayed daily during one normal menstrual cycle
Main Outcome Measures
Intracycle variability of AMH and inhibin B
Results
Data was classified into quartiles of AMH area-under-the-curve (AUCs). Mean AMH AUC was 15.7 ng/ml for Quartile 1 vs. 43.5, 80.9 and 144.9 ng/ml for Quartiles 2, 3 and 4. Mean AMH levels (ng/ml) were 0.67, 1.71, 3.02, and 5.33, respectively. There was no variation in Quartile 1 AMH rate of change from stochastic modeling, but in Quartiles 2–4, there were increased rates of change in days 2–7. Women in Quartile 1 had the lowest mean inhibin B (24.2 pg/ml vs. 44.3, 43.2, and 42.2 pg/ml) and had shorter menstrual cycles (24.6 days) than women in Quartiles 3 and 4 (28.2 and 28.4 days).
Conclusions
There were two menstrual cycle patterns of AMH. The “aging ovary” pattern included low AMH levels with little variation, lower inhibin B and shorter cycle lengths. The “younger ovary” pattern included higher AMH levels with significant variation days 2–7, suggesting that for women with AMH >1 ng/ml, the interpretation of AMH levels is contingent upon the day of the menstrual cycle on which specimen is obtained.
doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.07.1674
PMCID: PMC2891288  PMID: 19969291
AMH; menstrual cycle variability; ovarian aging; reproductive aging; ovarian reserve
13.  Anti-Müllerian hormone: correlation with testosterone and oligo- or amenorrhoea in female adolescence in a population-based cohort study 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2014;29(10):2317-2325.
STUDY QUESTIONS
Can serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels measured in female adolescents predict polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-associated features in adolescence and early adulthood?
SUMMARY ANSWER
AMH levels associated well with PCOS-associated features (such as testosterone levels and oligoamenorrhoea) in adolescence, but was not an ideal marker to predict PCOS-associated features in early adulthood.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
Several studies have reported that there is a strong correlation between antral follicle count and serum AMH levels and that women with PCOS/PCO have significantly higher serum AMH levels than women with normal ovaries. Other studies have reported an association between AMH serum levels and hyperandrogenism in adolescence, but none has prospectively assessed AMH as a risk predictor for developing features of PCOS during adulthood.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
A subset of 400 girls was selected from the prospective population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (n = 4567 at age 16 and n = 4503 at age 26). The population has been followed from 1986 to the present.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIAL, SETTING, METHODS
At age 16, 400 girls (100 from each testosterone quartile: 50 with oligo- or amenorrhoea and 50 with a normal menstrual cycle) were selected at random from the cohort for AMH measurement. Metabolic parameters were also assessed at age 16 in all participants. Postal questionnaires enquired about oligo- or amenorrhoea, hirsutism, contraceptive use and reproductive health at ages 16 and 26.
MAIN RESULTS AND ROLE OF CHANCE
There was a significant correlation between AMH and testosterone at age 16 (r = 0.36, P < 0.001). AMH levels at age 16 were significantly higher among girls with oligo- or amenorrhoea compared with girls with normal menstrual cycles (35.9 pmol/l [95% CI: 33.2;38.6] versus 27.7 pmol/l [95% CI: 25.0;30.4], P < 0.001). AMH at age 16 was higher in girls who developed hirsutism at age 26 compared with the non-hirsute group (31.4 pmol/l [95% CI 27.1;36.5] versus 25.8 pmol/l [95% CI 23.3;28.6], P = 0.036). AMH at age 16 was also higher in women with PCOS at age 26 compared with the non-PCOS subjects (38.1 pmol/l [95% CI 29.1;48.4] versus 30.2 pmol/l [95% CI 27.9;32.4], P = 0.044). The sensitivity and specificity of the AMH (cut-off 22.5 pmol/l) for predicting PCOS at age 26 was 85.7 and 37.5%, respectively. The addition of testosterone did not significantly improve the accuracy of the test. There was no significant correlation between AMH levels and metabolic indices at age 16.
IMPLICATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
AMH is related to oligo- or amenorrhoea in adolescence, but it is not a good marker for metabolic factors. The relatively low rate of participation in the questionnaire at age 26 may also have affected the results. AMH was measured in a subset of the whole cohort. AMH measurement is lacking international standardization and therefore the concentrations and cut-off points are method dependent.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FINDINGS
Using a high enough cut-off value of AMH to predict which adolescents are likely to develop PCOS in adulthood could help to manage the condition from an early age due to a good sensitivity. However, because of its low specificity, it is not an ideal diagnostic marker, and its routine use in clinical practice cannot, at present, be recommended.
STUDY FUNDINGS AND COMPETING INTERESTS
The study was funded by a grant from Wellcome Trust (089549/Z/09/Z) to H.L., S.F. and M.-R.J. Study funding was also received from Oulu University Hospital Research Funds, Sigrid Juselius Foundation and the Academy of Finland. None of the authors have any competing interest to declare.
doi:10.1093/humrep/deu182
PMCID: PMC4164146  PMID: 25056088
AMH; female adolescence; PCOS; oligo- or amenorrhoea; testosterone
14.  Comparing Seminal Plasma Biomarkers between Normospermic and Azoospermic Men 
Introduction
Azoospermia affects more than 10% - 15% of infertile male subjects attending infertilty clinics. At present, testicular biopsy is the golden standard procedure for evaluating spermatogenesis status in men with azoospermia. Semen collection and analysis is a non-invasive method and has proven to be valuable in the evaluation of spermatogenesis. Identification of seminal plasma markers with testicular or extra-testicular origins have a great value in predicting the prescence of sperm in testicular tissue and presumptive cause of azoospermia. The aim of this study was to find such markers by comparing the content of seminal plasma using different methods in normospermic and azoospermic men.
Materials and Methods
Semen samples were collected from 200 men attending Avicenna Infertility Clinic (AIC) in Tehran, Iran. Semen samples were analysed according to WHO guidlines. The subjects were divided into two groups: normospermic (n = 100; group one) and azoospermic men (n = 100; group two) according to semen analysis results. Seminal plasma was separated by high speed centrifuagation and stored in -20° C. Four markers including fructose, neutral alpha glucosidase (NαG), inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) were measured in seminal plasma. Fructose and NαG were evaluated by spectrophotometry, while inhibin B and AMH were assessed by ELISA method. The spermatogenesis status in the azoospermic group was evaluated by histopathological method following testicular biopsy.
Results
Fructose concentration showed no difference between the two groups. However, it was significantly correlated with sperm count (p < 0.01, r = -0.408). Seminal plasma inhibin B (OR: 1.01; 95%: CI: 1.005 - 1.016), AMH (OR: 1.63; 95% CI: 1.17 - 2.28) and NαG, (OR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.04 - 1.1) levels were higher in normospermic subjects compared to azoospermic men. There were significant differences in inhibin B and AMH concentrations between the two groups based on the presence or absence of mature sperm in testicular biopsies (p < 0.01). Inhibin B concentration was positively correlated with sperm count in the normospermic group, however, NαG concentration correlated with sperm count of normospermic men (p < 0.01, r = 0.345) and the subjects' age in both groups.
Conclusion
Inhibin B and AMH were correlated with the presence of sperm in testicular tissue samples. According to non-specific changes in inhibin B and AMH concentrations, identification of more specific molecular markers in seminal plasma to definitely evaluate the status of spermatogenesis is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3719273  PMID: 23926479
Anti-Mullerian Hormone; Azoospermia; Fructose; Inhibin B; Male infertility; Neutral alpha glucosidase; Seminal plasma; Spermatogenesis
15.  Postoperative change of anti-Thomsen-Friedenreich and Tn IgG level: The follow-up study of gastrointestinal cancer patients 
AIM: To study the influence of tumor removal on the serum level of IgG antibodies to tumor-associated Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF), Tn carbohydrate epitopes and xenogeneic αGal, and to elucidate on the change of the level during the follow-up as well as its association with the stage and morphology of the tumor and the values of blood parameters in gastrointestinal cancer.
METHODS: Sixty patients with gastric cancer and 34 patients with colorectal cancer in stages I-IV without distant metastases were subjected to follow-up. The level of antibodies in serum was determined by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using synthetic polyacrylamide (PAA) glycoconjugates. Biochemical and haematological analyses were performed using automated equipment.
RESULTS: In gastrointestinal cancer, the TF antibody level was found to have elevated significantly after the removal of G3 tumors as compared with the preoperative level (u = 278.5, P < 0.05). After surgery, the TF and Tn antibody level was elevated in the majority of gastric cancer patients (sign test, 20 vs 8, P < 0.05, and 21 vs 8, P < 0.05, respectively). In gastrointestinal cancer, the elevated postoperative level of TF, Tn and αGal antibodies was noted in most patients with G3 tumors (sign test, 22 vs 5, P < 0.01; 19 vs 6, P < 0.05; 24 vs 8, P < 0.01, respectively), but the elevation was not significant in patients with G1 + G2 resected tumors. The postoperative follow-up showed that the percentage of patients with G3 resected tumors of the digestive tract, who had a mean level of anti-TF IgG above the cut-off value (1.53), was significantly higher than that of patients with G1 + G2 resected tumors (χ2 = 3.89, all patients; χ2 = 5.34, patients without regional lymph node metastases; P < 0.05). The percentage of patients with a tumor in stage I, whose mean anti-TF IgG level remained above the cut-off value (1.26), was significantly higher than that of patients with the cancer in stages III-IV (χ2 = 4.71, gastric cancer; χ2 = 4.11, gastrointestinal cancer; P < 0.05). The correlation was observed to exist between the level of anti-TF IgG and the count of lymphocytes (r = 0.517, P < 0.01), as well as between the level of anti-Tn IgG and that of serum CA 19-9 (r = 0.481, P < 0.05). No positive delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction in skin test challenges with TF-PAA in any of the fifteen patients, including those with a high level of anti-TF IgG, was observed.
CONCLUSION: The surgical operation raises the level of anti-carbohydrate IgG in most patients, especially in those with the G3 tumor of the gastrointestinal tract. The follow-up demonstrates that after surgery the low preoperative level of TF antibodies may be considerably increased in patients with the carcinoma in its early stage but remains low in its terminal stages. The stage- and morphology-dependent immunosuppression affects the TF-antibody response and may be one of the reasons for unresponsiveness to the immunization with TF-antigens.
doi:10.3748/wjg.14.4352
PMCID: PMC2731188  PMID: 18666325
IgG antibodies; Thomsen-Friedenreich; Tn; αGal; Gastrointestinal cancer; Immunosuppression; CA 19-9
16.  Maternal Serum and Amniotic Fluid Inhibin A Levels in Women who Subsequently Develop Severe Preeclampsia 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2006;21(3):452-456.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether maternal serum (MS) and amniotic fluid (AF) inhibin A levels are elevated in patients who subsequently develop severe preecalmpsia, and to investigate the correlation between MS and AF inhibin A levels in the second trimester. The study included 40 patients who subsequently developed severe preecalmpsia and 80 normal pregnant women. Inhibin A levels in MS and AF were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The MS and AF inhibin A levels in patients who developed severe preeclampsia were significantly higher than those in the control group (both for p<0.001). There was a positive correlation between MS and AF inhibin A levels in patients who developed severe preeclampsia (r=0.397, p=0.011), but not in the control group (r=0.185, p=0.126). The best cutoff values of MS and AF inhibin A levels for the prediction of severe preeclampsia were 427 pg/mL and 599 pg/mL, respectively; the estimated ORs that were associated with these cut-off values were 9.95 (95% CI 3.8-25.9, p<0.001) and 6.0 (95% CI 2.3-15.8, p<0.001). An elevated level of inhibin A in MS and AF at the time of second trimester amniocentesis may be a risk factor for the subsequent development of severe preeclampsia.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2006.21.3.452
PMCID: PMC2729950  PMID: 16778388
Pre-Eclampsia; inhibin A; Biological Markers; Serum Marker; Maternal Serum; Phenytoin; Amniotic Fluid
17.  Inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone as markers of gonadal function after hematopoietic cell transplantation during childhood 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:20.
Background
It is difficult to predict the reproductive capacity of children given hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) before pubertal age because the plasma concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are not informative and no spermogram can be done.
Methods
We classified the gonadal function of 38 boys and 34 girls given HCT during childhood who had reached pubertal age according to their pubertal development and FSH and LH and compared this to their plasma inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH).
Results
Ten (26%) boys had normal testicular function, 16 (42%) had isolated tubular failure and 12 (32%) also had Leydig cell failure. All 16 boys given melphalan had tubular failure. AMH were normal in 25 patients and decreased in 6, all of whom had increased FSH and low inhibin B.
Seven (21%) girls had normal ovarian function, 11 (32%) had partial and 16 (47%) complete ovarian failure. 7/8 girls given busulfan had increased FSH and LH and 7/8 had low inhibin B. AMH indicated that ovarian function was impaired in all girls.
FSH and inhibin B were negatively correlated in boys (P < 0.0001) and girls (P = 0.0006). Neither the age at HCT nor the interval between HCT and evaluation influenced gonadal function.
Conclusion
The concordance between FSH and inhibin B suggests that inhibin B may help in counselling at pubertal age. In boys, AMH were difficult to use as they normally decrease when testosterone increases at puberty. In girls, low AMH suggest that there is major loss of primordial follicles.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-20
PMCID: PMC3058047  PMID: 21352536
18.  Inhibin as a marker for ovarian cancer. 
British Journal of Cancer  1995;71(5):1046-1050.
Inhibin is a polypeptide hormone produced by the granulosa cells of the ovary, and is present in body fluids as dimers of various sizes each comprising an alpha- and beta-subunit. Free forms of the alpha-subunit also circulate, and the presently available radioimmunoassay (Monash assay) cannot distinguish these from biologically active dimeric inhibin. Recently we described a new two-site enzyme immunoassay able for the first time to measure the levels of dimeric inhibin throughout the human menstrual cycle. The sensitivity limit of this assay is 2 pg ml-1 in human serum with cross-reactivity against activin of 0.05%. The normal range of inhibin in post-menopausal women is < 5 pg ml-1, in pre-menopausal women 2-80 pg ml-1 (2-10 pg ml-1 in the follicular phase, 40-80 pg ml-1 in the luteal phase). This assay was used to determine inhibin levels in sera from 15 (five pre-menopausal and ten post-menopausal) patients with granulosa cell tumours of the ovary. It was raised in a pre-menopausal patient preoperatively (261 pg ml-1), in six post-menopausal patients (32, 43, 54, 66, 24 and 58 pg ml-1) and one pre-menopausal patient with recurrent tumour, (237 pg ml-1), all confirmed clinically. Inhibin was normal in six patients in remission. Oestradiol levels were normal in all patients. Serial levels of inhibin predicted recurrence before overt clinical relapse in two patients. In 29 patients with malignant epithelial ovarian tumours inhibin levels were modestly elevated in nine and normal in the rest. Three patients with endometrioid histology, two with undifferentiated tumours, three with mucinous adenocarcinoma and one with clear cell carcinoma had elevated inhibin levels. Functional inhibin is secreted by all granulosa cell tumours of the ovary studied and can be used as a tumour marker to determine response to therapy and predict recurrence and is superior to oestradiol. A more detailed analysis of the levels of inhibin, and its subunits in epithelial ovarian cancer is needed to identify the molecular forms of the immunoreactive material before optimised assays can be applied to this more common tumour.
PMCID: PMC2033765  PMID: 7734297
19.  A new ovarian response prediction index (ORPI): implications for individualised controlled ovarian stimulation 
Background
The objective was to present a new ovarian response prediction index (ORPI), which was based on anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels, antral follicle count (AFC) and age, and to verify whether it could be a reliable predictor of the ovarian stimulation response.
Methods
A total of 101 patients enrolled in the ICSI programme were included. The ORPI values were calculated by multiplying the AMH level (ng/ml) by the number of antral follicles (2–9 mm), and the result was divided by the age (years) of the patient (ORPI=(AMH x AFC)/Patient age).
Results
The regression analysis demonstrated significant (P<0.0001) positive correlations between the ORPI and the total number of oocytes and of MII oocytes collected. The logistic regression revealed that the ORPI values were significantly associated with the likelihood of pregnancy (odds ratio (OR): 1.86; P=0.006) and collecting greater than or equal to 4 oocytes (OR: 49.25; P<0.0001), greater than or equal to 4 MII oocytes (OR: 6.26; P<0.0001) and greater than or equal to 15 oocytes (OR: 6.10; P<0.0001). Regarding the probability of collecting greater than or equal to 4 oocytes according to the ORPI value, the ROC curve showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.91 and an efficacy of 88% at a cut-off of 0.2. In relation to the probability of collecting greater than or equal to 4 MII oocytes according to the ORPI value, the ROC curve had an AUC of 0.84 and an efficacy of 81% at a cut-off of 0.3. The ROC curve for the probability of collecting greater than or equal to 15 oocytes resulted in an AUC of 0.89 and an efficacy of 82% at a cut-off of 0.9. Finally, regarding the probability of pregnancy occurrence according to the ORPI value, the ROC curve showed an AUC of 0.74 and an efficacy of 62% at a cut-off of 0.3.
Conclusions
The ORPI exhibited an excellent ability to predict a low ovarian response and a good ability to predict a collection of greater than or equal to 4 MII oocytes, an excessive ovarian response and the occurrence of pregnancy in infertile women. The ORPI might be used to improve the cost-benefit ratio of ovarian stimulation regimens by guiding the selection of medications and by modulating the doses and regimens according to the actual needs of the patients.
doi:10.1186/1477-7827-10-94
PMCID: PMC3566907  PMID: 23171004
Ovarian response prediction index; Individualised controlled ovarian stimulation; Anti-Müllerian hormone; Antral follicles; Age
20.  Different ovarian response by age in an anti-Müllerian hormone-matched group undergoing in vitro fertilization 
Background
Recently, serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) has been used as a good marker of ovarian response during in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, in the clinical setting, we felt that ovarian response was clearly different by age with the same AMH level. Then in this study we evaluated the relationship between serum AMH, age and parameters related to ovarian response and compared these parameters in regard to age within serum AMH-matched group.
Methods and results
The relationship of these parameters were evaluated retrospectively in patients undergoing their first IVF cycle under a GnRH agonist flare up protocol (n = 456) between October 2008 and October 2010 in our clinic. To understand the relations between variables described above, principal component analysis (PCA) was performed. PCA revealed patients’ age was at the different dimension from serum AMH and other variables. Therefore at first we segregated all patients into Low, Normal and High responder groups by their serum AMH using cut-off value of receiver operator characteristics curve analysis. Secondary, we divided each responder group into four subgroups according to patients’ age. The high aged subgroups required a significantly higher dose of gonadotropin and a longer duration of stimulation; however, they had significantly lower peak E2 and a smaller number of total oocytes as well as M2 oocytes compared to the low aged subgroups.
Conclusions
The influence of aging on the ovarian response was clearly seen in all groups; the ovarian response tended to decrease as patients’ age increased with the same AMH level. Therefore serum AMH in combination with age is a better indicator than AMH alone.
doi:10.1007/s10815-011-9675-9
PMCID: PMC3270137  PMID: 22086616
AMH; Anti-Müllerian hormone; Age; IVF; GnRH agonist flare up protocol; Ovarian response
21.  Partial lipodystrophy with severe insulin resistance and adult progeria Werner syndrome 
Background
Laminopathies, due to mutations in LMNA, encoding A type-lamins, can lead to premature ageing and/or lipodystrophic syndromes, showing that these diseases could have close physiopathological relationships. We show here that lipodystrophy and extreme insulin resistance can also reveal the adult progeria Werner syndrome linked to mutations in WRN, encoding a RecQ DNA helicase.
Methods
We analysed the clinical and biological features of two women, aged 32 and 36, referred for partial lipodystrophic syndrome which led to the molecular diagnosis of Werner syndrome. Cultured skin fibroblasts from one patient were studied.
Results
Two normal-weighted women presented with a partial lipodystrophic syndrome with hypertriglyceridemia and liver steatosis. One of them had also diabetes. Both patients showed a peculiar, striking lipodystrophic phenotype with subcutaneous lipoatrophy of the four limbs contrasting with truncal and abdominal fat accumulation. Their oral glucose tolerance tests showed extremely high levels of insulinemia, revealing major insulin resistance. Low serum levels of sex-hormone binding globulin and adiponectin suggested a post-receptor insulin signalling defect. Other clinical features included bilateral cataracts, greying hair and distal skin atrophy. We observed biallelic WRN null mutations in both women (p.Q748X homozygous, and compound heterozygous p.Q1257X/p.M1329fs). Their fertility was decreased, with preserved menstrual cycles and normal follicle-stimulating hormone levels ruling out premature ovarian failure. However undetectable anti-müllerian hormone and inhibin B indicated diminished follicular ovarian reserve. Insulin-resistance linked ovarian hyperandrogenism could also contribute to decreased fertility, and the two patients became pregnant after initiation of insulin-sensitizers (metformin). Both pregnancies were complicated by severe cervical incompetence, leading to the preterm birth of a healthy newborn in one case, but to a second trimester-abortion in the other. WRN-mutated fibroblasts showed oxidative stress, increased lamin B1 expression, nuclear dysmorphies and premature senescence.
Conclusions
We show here for the first time that partial lipodystrophy with severe insulin resistance can reveal WRN-linked premature aging syndrome. Increased expression of lamin B1 with altered lamina architecture observed in WRN-mutated fibroblasts could contribute to premature cellular senescence. Primary alterations in DNA replication and/or repair should be considered as possible causes of lipodystrophic syndromes.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-8-106
PMCID: PMC3720184  PMID: 23849162
Lipodystrophy; Insulin resistance; WRN gene; Premature aging; Progeria; Pregnancy; Decreased ovarian reserve; Cervical insufficiency; Prelamin A; Lamin B1
22.  Intra-tumor Genetic Heterogeneity and Mortality in Head and Neck Cancer: Analysis of Data from The Cancer Genome Atlas 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(2):e1001786.
Background
Although the involvement of intra-tumor genetic heterogeneity in tumor progression, treatment resistance, and metastasis is established, genetic heterogeneity is seldom examined in clinical trials or practice. Many studies of heterogeneity have had prespecified markers for tumor subpopulations, limiting their generalizability, or have involved massive efforts such as separate analysis of hundreds of individual cells, limiting their clinical use. We recently developed a general measure of intra-tumor genetic heterogeneity based on whole-exome sequencing (WES) of bulk tumor DNA, called mutant-allele tumor heterogeneity (MATH). Here, we examine data collected as part of a large, multi-institutional study to validate this measure and determine whether intra-tumor heterogeneity is itself related to mortality.
Methods and Findings
Clinical and WES data were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas in October 2013 for 305 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), from 14 institutions. Initial pathologic diagnoses were between 1992 and 2011 (median, 2008). Median time to death for 131 deceased patients was 14 mo; median follow-up of living patients was 22 mo. Tumor MATH values were calculated from WES results. Despite the multiple head and neck tumor subsites and the variety of treatments, we found in this retrospective analysis a substantial relation of high MATH values to decreased overall survival (Cox proportional hazards analysis: hazard ratio for high/low heterogeneity, 2.2; 95% CI 1.4 to 3.3). This relation of intra-tumor heterogeneity to survival was not due to intra-tumor heterogeneity’s associations with other clinical or molecular characteristics, including age, human papillomavirus status, tumor grade and TP53 mutation, and N classification. MATH improved prognostication over that provided by traditional clinical and molecular characteristics, maintained a significant relation to survival in multivariate analyses, and distinguished outcomes among patients having oral-cavity or laryngeal cancers even when standard disease staging was taken into account. Prospective studies, however, will be required before MATH can be used prognostically in clinical trials or practice. Such studies will need to examine homogeneously treated HNSCC at specific head and neck subsites, and determine the influence of cancer therapy on MATH values. Analysis of MATH and outcome in human-papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is particularly needed.
Conclusions
To our knowledge this study is the first to combine data from hundreds of patients, treated at multiple institutions, to document a relation between intra-tumor heterogeneity and overall survival in any type of cancer. We suggest applying the simply calculated MATH metric of heterogeneity to prospective studies of HNSCC and other tumor types.
In this study, Rocco and colleagues examine data collected as part of a large, multi-institutional study, to validate a measure of tumor heterogeneity called MATH and determine whether intra-tumor heterogeneity is itself related to mortality.
Editors’ Summary
Background
Normally, the cells in human tissues and organs only reproduce (a process called cell division) when new cells are needed for growth or to repair damaged tissues. But sometimes a cell somewhere in the body acquires a genetic change (mutation) that disrupts the control of cell division and allows the cell to grow continuously. As the mutated cell grows and divides, it accumulates additional mutations that allow it to grow even faster and eventually from a lump, or tumor (cancer). Other mutations subsequently allow the tumor to spread around the body (metastasize) and destroy healthy tissues. Tumors can arise anywhere in the body—there are more than 200 different types of cancer—and about one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Many cancers can now be successfully treated, however, and people often survive for years after a diagnosis of cancer before, eventually, dying from another disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
The gradual acquisition of mutations by tumor cells leads to the formation of subpopulations of cells, each carrying a different set of mutations. This “intra-tumor heterogeneity” can produce tumor subclones that grow particularly quickly, that metastasize aggressively, or that are resistant to cancer treatments. Consequently, researchers have hypothesized that high intra-tumor heterogeneity leads to worse clinical outcomes and have suggested that a simple measure of this heterogeneity would be a useful addition to the cancer staging system currently used by clinicians for predicting the likely outcome (prognosis) of patients with cancer. Here, the researchers investigate whether a measure of intra-tumor heterogeneity called “mutant-allele tumor heterogeneity” (MATH) is related to mortality (death) among patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)—cancers that begin in the cells that line the moist surfaces inside the head and neck, such as cancers of the mouth and the larynx (voice box). MATH is based on whole-exome sequencing (WES) of tumor and matched normal DNA. WES uses powerful DNA-sequencing systems to determine the variations of all the coding regions (exons) of the known genes in the human genome (genetic blueprint).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained clinical and WES data for 305 patients who were treated in 14 institutions, primarily in the US, after diagnosis of HNSCC from The Cancer Genome Atlas, a catalog established by the US National Institutes of Health to map the key genomic changes in major types and subtypes of cancer. They calculated tumor MATH values for the patients from their WES results and retrospectively analyzed whether there was an association between the MATH values and patient survival. Despite the patients having tumors at various subsites and being given different treatments, every 10% increase in MATH value corresponded to an 8.8% increased risk (hazard) of death. Using a previously defined MATH-value cutoff to distinguish high- from low-heterogeneity tumors, compared to patients with low-heterogeneity tumors, patients with high-heterogeneity tumors were more than twice as likely to die (a hazard ratio of 2.2). Other statistical analyses indicated that MATH provided improved prognostic information compared to that provided by established clinical and molecular characteristics and human papillomavirus (HPV) status (HPV-positive HNSCC at some subsites has a better prognosis than HPV-negative HNSCC). In particular, MATH provided prognostic information beyond that provided by standard disease staging among patients with mouth or laryngeal cancers.
What Do These Findings Mean?
By using data from more than 300 patients treated at multiple institutions, these findings validate the use of MATH as a measure of intra-tumor heterogeneity in HNSCC. Moreover, they provide one of the first large-scale demonstrations that intra-tumor heterogeneity is clinically important in the prognosis of any type of cancer. Before the MATH metric can be used in clinical trials or in clinical practice as a prognostic tool, its ability to predict outcomes needs to be tested in prospective studies that examine the relation between MATH and the outcomes of patients with identically treated HNSCC at specific head and neck subsites, that evaluate the use of MATH for prognostication in other tumor types, and that determine the influence of cancer treatments on MATH values. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that MATH should be considered as a biomarker for survival in HNSCC and other tumor types, and raise the possibility that clinicians could use MATH values to decide on the best treatment for individual patients and to choose patients for inclusion in clinical trials.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001786.
The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides information about cancer and how it develops and about head and neck cancer (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK, a not-for-profit organization, provides general information about cancer and how it develops, and detailed information about head and neck cancer; the Merseyside Regional Head and Neck Cancer Centre provides patient stories about HNSCC
Wikipedia provides information about tumor heterogeneity, and about whole-exome sequencing (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
Information about The Cancer Genome Atlas is available
A PLOS Blog entry by Jessica Wapner explains more about MATH
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001786
PMCID: PMC4323109  PMID: 25668320
23.  Anti-CDC25B autoantibody predicts poor prognosis in patients with advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Background
The oncogene CDC25B phosphatase plays an important role in cancer cell growth. We have recently reported that patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) have significantly higher serum levels of CDC25B autoantibodies (CDC25B-Abs) than both healthy individuals and patients with other types of cancer; however, the potential diagnostic or prognostic significance of CDC25B-Abs is not clear. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical significance of serum CDC25B-Abs in patients with ESCC.
Methods
CDC25B autoantibodies were measured in sera from both 134 patients with primary ESCC and 134 healthy controls using a reverse capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in which anti-CDC25B antibodies bound CDC25B antigen purified from Eca-109 ESCC tumor cells. The clinicopathologic significance of CDC25B serum autoantibodies was compared to that of the tumor markers carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC-Ag) and cytokeratin 19 fragment antigen 21-1(CYFRA21-1).
Results
Higher levels of CDC25B autoantibodies were present in sera from patients with ESCC (A450 = 0.917, SD = 0.473) than in sera from healthy control subjects (A450 = 0.378, SD = 0.262, P < 0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for CDC25B-Abs was 0.870 (95% CI: 0.835-0.920). The sensitivity and specificity of CDC25B-Abs for detection of ESCC were 56.7% and 91.0%, respectively, when CDC25-Abs-positive samples were defined as those with an A450 greater than the cut-off value of 0.725. Relatively few patients tested positive for the tumor markers CEA, SCC-Ag and CYFRA21-1 (13.4%, 17.2%, and 32.1%, respectively). A significantly higher number of patients with ESCC tested positive for a combination of CEA, SCC, CYFRA21-1 and CDC25B-Abs (64.2%) than for a combination of CEA, SCC-Ag and CYFRA21-1 (41.0%, P < 0.001). The concentration of CDC25B autoantibodies in serum was significantly correlated with tumor stage (P < 0.001). Although examination of the total patient pool showed no obvious relationship between CDC25B autoantibodies and overall survival, in the subgroup of patients with stage III-IV tumors, the cumulative five-year survival rate of CDC25B-seropositive patients was 6.7%, while that of CDC25B-seronegative patients was 43.4% (P = 0.001, log-rank). In the N1 subgroup, the cumulative five-year survival rate of CDC25B-seropositive patients was 13.6%, while that of CDC25B-seronegative patients was 54.5% (P = 0.040, log-rank).
Conclusions
Detection of serum CDC25B-Abs is superior to detection of the tumor markers CEA, SCC-Ag and CYFRA21-1 for diagnosis of ESCC, and CDC25B-Abs are a potential prognostic serological marker for advanced ESCC.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-8-81
PMCID: PMC2941748  PMID: 20813067
24.  Intensive post-operative follow-up of breast cancer patients with tumour markers: CEA, TPA or CA15.3 vs MCA and MCA-CA15.3 vs CEA-TPA-CA15.3 panel in the early detection of distant metastases 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:269.
Background
In breast cancer current guidelines do not recommend the routine use of serum tumour markers. Differently, we observed that CEA-TPA-CA15.3 (carcinoembryonic (CEA) tissue polypeptide (TPA) and cancer associated 115D8/DF3 (CA15.3) antigens) panel permits early detection and treatment for most relapsing patients. As high sensitivity and specificity and different cut-off values have been reported for mucin-like carcinoma associated antigen (MCA), we compared MCA with the above mentioned tumour markers and MCA-CA15.3 with the CEA-TPA-CA15.3 panel.
Methods
In 289 breast cancer patients submitted to an intensive post-operative follow-up with tumour markers, we compared MCA (cut-off values, ≥ 11 and ≥ 15 U/mL) with CEA or CA15.3 or TPA for detection of relapse. In addition, we compared the MCA-CA15.3 and CEA-TPA-CA15.3 tumour marker panels.
Results
Distant metastases occurred 19 times in 18 (6.7%) of the 268 patients who were disease-free at the beginning of the study. MCA sensitivity with both cut-off values was higher than that of CEA or TPA or CA15.3 (68% vs 10%, 26%, 32% and 53% vs 16%, 42%, 32% respectively). With cut-off ≥ 11 U/mL, MCA showed the lowest specificity (42%); with cut-off ≥ 15 U/mL, MCA specificity was similar to TPA (73% vs 72%) and lower than that of CEA and CA15.3 (96% and 97% respectively). With ≥ 15 U/mL MCA cut-off, MCA sensitivity increased from 53% to 58% after its association with CA15.3. Sensitivity of CEA-TPA-CA15.3 panel was 74% (14 of 19 recurrences). Eight of the 14 recurrences early detected with CEA-TPA-CA15.3 presented as a single lesion (oligometastatic disease) (5) or were confined to bony skeleton (3) (26% and 16% respectively of the 19 relapses). With ≥ 11 U/mL MCA cut-off, MCA-CA15.3 association showed higher sensitivity but lower specificity, accuracy and positive predictive value than the CEA-TPA-CA15.3 panel.
Conclusion
At both the evaluated cut-off values serum MCA sensitivity is higher than that of CEA, TPA or CA15.3 but its specificity is similar to or lower than that of TPA. Overall, CEA-TPA-CA15.3 panel is more accurate than MCA-CA15.3 association and can "early" detect a few relapsed patients with limited metastatic disease and more favourable prognosis. These findings further support the need for prospective randomised clinical trial to assess whether an intensive post-operative follow-up with an appropriate use of serum tumour markers can significantly improve clinical outcome of early detected relapsing patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-269
PMCID: PMC1684262  PMID: 17116247
25.  Serum Anti-müllerian hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and antral follicle count measurement cannot predict pregnancy rates in IVF/ICSI cycles 
Purpose
To investigate whether serum anti-müllerian hormone (AMH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), or antral follicle count (AFC) are predictive for clinical pregnancy in in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients.
Methods
Serum AMH, inhibin B, FSH, luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), prolactin, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and AFC of 189 women under 40 years of age were investigated. Pregnant and non-pregnant women were compared.
Results
Forty-seven (24.8 %) clinical pregnancies were observed in 189 women. There was no significant difference in terms of mean age, duration of infertility, body mass index, AMH, LH, FSH, E2, TSH, Inhibin B, AFC and total oocyte number between women who did and who did not become pregnant. Additionally, there was no significant difference in clinical pregnancy rates between the quartiles of AMH, FSH and AFC. (P values were 0.668, 0.071, and 0.252, respectively.)
Conclusion
Serum AMH and FSH, and AFC cannot predict clinical pregnancy in IVF patients under 40; the pregnancy rate tends to increase as AMH increases, although this remains non-significant.
doi:10.1007/s10815-012-9754-6
PMCID: PMC3401265  PMID: 22492221
Antimüllerian hormone; Follicle stimulating hormone; Antral follicle count; Clinical pregnancy rate

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