AIM--To investigate serum placental-type alkaline phosphatase (PLAP-type) activities in women with squamous and glandular malignancies of the reproductive tract using an immunoradiometric assay. METHODS--PLAP-type immunoreactivity was measured in 180 women with non-ovarian malignancies of the reproductive tract and the values were compared with those from 334 controls. The cases comprised 18 vulval, nine vaginal, 103 cervical, 46 endometrial, and five fallopian tube cancers. RESULTS--Serum PLAP-type activities were no different from controls in patients with squamous cell tumours. Women with adenocarcinoma of the cervix, endometrium, and fallopian tube had increased values: women with endometrial cancer had a median value nearly four times greater than that of controls. There was no direct correlation between PLAP-type activities and stage of disease in patients with endometrial cancer, but values reverted to normal after treatment. CONCLUSIONS--Serum PLAP-type measurements are of no value in the management of patients with squamous cell tumours of the female reproductive tract. Raised activities can, however, be found in glandular tumours, in particular endometrial cancer where serum PLAP-type measurements may be of value in predicting remission.
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