Isozyme patterns of 23 different enzymes were compared in normal, benign, and malignant breast tissues; in MCF-7 cells; and in organoids of normal human breast tissue. Benign lesions generally showed isozyme patterns similar to those of normal tissues. Lactate dehydrogenase isozyme 5 was significantly increased in malignant tumors; MCF-7 cells had only lactate dehydrogenase (l-lactate:NAD oxidoreductase; EC The mitochondrial form of malate dehydrogenase was also significantly increased in human malignant tumors; this was especially evident when comparing tumor and apparently uninvolved breast tissue from the same patient. The K4 isozyme of pyruvate kinase was the major form in most malignant breast tumors, but in only 41% of normal tissues, 30% of fibrocystic disease specimens, and 46% of fibroadenomas. A more anodal band of pyruvate kinase, probably a K3M or K3Kpm hybrid, predominated in most normal and benign tissues, but in only 63% of primary and 56% of secondary tumors. All specimens had predominantly creatine kinase BB, aldolase A4, and hexokinase I. Traces of aldolase A3C and of hexokinase II were observed in some tumors. None of the tumors had the Regan variant of alkaline phosphatase. The isozymes of lactate and malate dehydrogenases and of pyruvate kinase appear to be the most promising as putative tumor markers.


Supported by National Cancer Institute Contract N01-CB-84222.

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