The activity of an isoenzyme of alkaline phosphatase (FHAP) was measured in serum samples obtained from 1692 individual subjects. The median FHAP concentration in patients with untreated or recurrent cancer (2.73 IU/liter) was two-fold higher than in hospitalized control patients with illnesses other than cancer (1.17 IU/liter) and three-fold higher than in healthy control subjects (0.93 IU/liter). Among patients with either breast or colorectal cancer who were clinically disease free following their initial therapy, the median FHAP concentration (1.54 IU/liter) was intermediate between the median FHAP concentration in patients with untreated or recurrent cancer and that of healthy control subjects. In order to illustrate the potential clinical application of FHAP as a diagnostic cancer marker, we have selected a serum FHAP concentration of 2.22 IU/liter as a reference value above which only 3% of healthy control subjects would have a “positive” test. Utilizing this reference value, 58% of the patients in the present study with untreated or recurrent cancer would have a positive FHAP test, whereas only 11%, of hospitalized patients with illnesses other than cancer would have a positive test. These data suggest that FHAP may be equivalent to the carcinoembryonic antigen as a diagnostic cancer marker.

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Presented in part at the 70th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (1). Supported in part by Contract CB-74173 from the National Cancer Institute and by the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin.

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