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1.  Breast and prostate cancer patients differ significantly in their serum Thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) specific activities compared with those hematological malignancies and blood donors: implications of using serum TK1 as a biomarker 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:66.
Background
Thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) is a cellular enzyme involved in DNA precursor synthesis, and its activity has been used as a proliferation marker for monitoring malignant diseases. Here, for the first time, we evaluated both TK1 activity and protein levels in sera from patients with different malignancies.
Methods
Serum samples from patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS, n = 22), breast cancer (n = 42), prostate cancer (n = 47) and blood donors (n = 30) were analyzed for TK1 protein and activity levels, using a serum TK1 (STK1) protein assay based on antibodies and an activity assay that measured [3H]-deoxythymidine (dThd) phosphorylation. The molecular forms of TK1 in sera from some of these patients were analyzed using size-exclusion chromatography.
Results
Mean STK1 activities in sera from MDS, breast and prostate cancer were 11 ± 17.5, 6.7 ± 19 and 1.8 ± 1.4 pmol/min/mL, differing significantly from blood donors (mean ± standard deviation (SD) = 1.1 ± 0.9 pmol/min/mL). Serum TK1 protein (25 kDa polypeptide) levels were also significantly higher in MDS, breast, prostate cancer compared to blood donors (mean ± SD = 19 ± 9, 22 ± 11, 20 ± 12, and 5 ± 3.5 ng/mL, respectively). The STK1 specific activities of sera from patients with MDS and blood donors were significantly higher when compared with activities in sera from breast and prostate cancer patients. Size-exclusion analysis of sera from breast and prostate cancer showed that the detected active TK1 was primarily a high molecular weight complex, similar to the forms found in sera from MDS patients and blood donors. However, Western blotting demonstrated high TK1 25 kDa protein levels in fractions lacking TK1 activity in sera from cases with breast and prostate cancer.
Conclusions
These results demonstrate that there are differences in the specific activities and the subunit compositions of STK1 in hematological malignancies compared with breast and prostate cancer. This fact has several important implications for the use of STK1 as a tumor biomarker. One is that STK1 protein assays may differentiate early-stage tumor development in breast and prostate cancer more effectively than STK1 activity assays.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1073-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1073-8
PMCID: PMC4336758
Serum thymidine kinase 1; STK1 protein assays; Size exclusion chromatography; Anti-human TK1 antibodies; TK1 specific activity
2.  Properties of cellular and serum forms of thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) in dogs with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and canine mammary tumors (CMTs): implications for TK1 as a proliferation biomarker 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10(1):228.
Background
Thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) is a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) precursor enzyme and a proliferation biomarker used for prognosis and treatment monitoring of breast cancer in humans. The aim was to determine if serum thymidine kinase 1 (sTK1) activity and sTK1 protein levels in dogs with mammary tumors could be useful in veterinary medicine.
Results
Serum samples from 20 healthy dogs and 27 dogs with mammary tumors were analyzed for sTK1 activity, using an [3H]-deoxythymidine (dThd) phosphorylation assay, and for sTK1 protein levels by immune affinity/Western blot assay. The molecular forms of sTK1 in acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), canine mammary tumor (CMT), and healthy sera were determined by size exclusion chromatography.
Mean sTK1 activities in CMT were 1.0 ± 0.36 pmol/min/mL, differing significantly from healthy dogs (mean ± SD = 0.73 ± 0.26 pmol/min/mL). Serum TK1 protein (26 kDa polypeptide) levels were also significantly higher in CMTs compared to healthy dogs (mean ± SD = 28.5 ± 11.4, and 8.5 ± 4 ng/mL, respectively). Cellular TK1 isolated from ALL tumor cells was predominantly a dimer, while the serum TK1 activity eluted as a high molecular weight (MW) oligomer. In analyses of CMT tissue extracts, TK1 activity eluted in two peaks, a minor peak with a high MW oligomer and a major tetramer peak. Western blot analysis of chromatographic fractions showed that cellular TK1 protein in both ALL and CMT dogs, and to some extent serum TK1 from ALL dogs, correlated with activity profiles, but a large fraction of inactive TK1 protein was detected in CMT.
Conclusions
Serum TK1 protein and activity levels were significantly higher in CMT than in healthy dogs. Size exclusion chromatography demonstrated major differences in the molecular forms of sTK1 in ALL, healthy, and CMT dogs, with a large fraction of inactive TK1 protein in CMT. Our results showed that the sTK1 protein assay can differentiate benign tumors (early stage tumors) from healthy more efficiently than sTK1 activity assay. This preliminary data supports that sTK1 protein assay is clinically useful. Further studies are needed to evaluate the diagnostic or prognostic role of serum TK1 protein in CMTs.
doi:10.1186/s12917-014-0228-1
PMCID: PMC4195903  PMID: 25293656
Canine serum thymidine kinase 1; sTK1 protein assays; Canine mammary tumors; Size exclusion chromatography; Anti-dog TK1 antibodies
3.  Quaternary structures of recombinant, cellular, and serum forms of Thymidine Kinase 1 from dogs and humans 
BMC Biochemistry  2012;13:12.
Background
Thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) is a salvage enzyme involved in DNA precursor synthesis, and its expression is proliferation dependent. A serum form of TK1 has been used as a biomarker in human medicine for many years and more recently to monitor canine lymphoma. Canine TK1 has not been cloned and studied. Therefore, dog and human TK1 cDNA were cloned and expressed, and the recombinant enzymes characterized. The serum and cellular forms of canine and human TK1 were studied by size-exclusion chromatography and the level of TK1 protein was determined using polyclonal and monoclonal anti-TK1 antibodies.
Results
Canine TK1 phosphorylated the thymidine (dThd) analog 3'-azido-thymidine (AZT) as efficiently as it did dThd, whereas AZT phosphorylation by human TK1 was less efficient than that of dThd. Dog TK1 was also more thermostable and pH tolerant than the human enzyme. Oligomeric forms were observed with both enzymes in addition to the tetrameric and dimeric forms. Cellular TK1 was predominantly seen in dimeric and tetrameric forms, in the case of both dog TK1 from MDCK cells and human TK1 from CEM cells. Active serum TK1 was found mainly in a high molecular weight form, and treatment with a reducing agent shifted the high molecular weight complex to lower molecular weight forms with reduced total activity. Western blot analysis demonstrated a polypeptide of 26 kDa (dog) and 25 kDa (human) for cellular and serum TK1. There was no direct correlation between serum TK1 activity and protein level. It appears that a substantial fraction of serum TK1 is not enzymatically active.
Conclusions
These results suggest that the serum TK1 protein differs from cellular or recombinant forms, is more active in high molecular weight complexes, and is sensitive to reducing agents. The results presented here provide important information for the future development and use of serum TK1 as a diagnostic biomarker in human and veterinary medicine.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-13-12
PMCID: PMC3411398  PMID: 22741536
Recombinant Thymidine Kinase 1; Canine; Human; AZT; Serum Thymidine Kinase 1

Results 1-3 (3)