Preoperative serum level of inhibin a is an independent prognostic factor for the survival of postmenopausal women with epithelial ovarian carcinoma

Antonio E. Frias, Honghze Li, Gary L. Keeney, Karl C. Podratz, Teresa K. Woodruff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic significance of preoperative serum inhibin and activin levels in postmenopausal women with epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) by correlating serum levels with disease parameters, including tumor stage and grade and patient age. METHODS. Serum levels of inhibin A, inhibin B, pro-alpha C, activin A, and activin B were quantitated with sensitive and specific two- site enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) in samples collected from 44 postmenopausal women diagnosed with EOC. Serum was obtained within 14 days prior to primary tumor reductive surgery and stored at -55°C. All patients underwent definitive surgical staging and cytoreduction at Mayo Clinic and were followed for at least 5 years or until death. Postoperative adjuvant therapy was selected based on stage of disease. Demographics included 5 Stage I, 2 Stage II, 33 Stage III, and 4 Stage IV tumors, and the predominant histology was serous subtype and poorly differentiated grade. RESULTS. Inhibin A was detected in 98% of the serum samples (range, 0-12.18 pg/mL). Univariate analysis was used to demonstrate an association between patients with serum inhibin A levels exceeding the median (1.21 pg/mL) and compromised disease free (P = 0.025) and overall (P = 0.006) survival. While the 5 year disease free survival (DFS) for the entire population was 32%, the corresponding DFS rates for patients with inhibin A levels above and below the median were 100% and 43%, respectively. Similarly, the 5-year overall survival (OS) for the entire population was 35%, compared with 16% for patients above and 47% for patients below the median inhibin A level. Stepwise regression analysis that incorporated age, stage, grade, and inhibin A levels identified serum inhibin A levels above the median to be the most cogent predictor of DFS and OS. CONCLUSIONS. Preoperative serum inhibin A levels provided valuable prognostic information independent of age, stage, and grade in a postmenopausal cohort given standardized treatment for EOC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-471
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Follicle- stimulating hormone
  • Granulosa
  • Ovary
  • Testis
  • Transforming growth factor-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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