Urinary excretion levels of unconjugated pterins in cancer patients and normal individuals

Baldasarre Stea, Richard M. Halpern, Barbara C. Halpern, Roberts A. Smith

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74 Scopus citations


Urinary excretion levels of seven unconjugated pterins in healthy individuals and in cancer patients, most of whom were undergoing chemotherapy, were measured utilizing a newly developed high-pressure liquid Chromatographie system. Excretion of pterins in the control group appears to be under strict metabolic control as the values obtained were confined within a small range. When the mean excretion levels in control subjects were compared with those in cancer patients, we found a significant increase in the excretion of xanthopterin, neopterin and pterin and a significant decrease in isoxanthopterin by cancer patients. Biopterin levels, on the other hand, were found only slightly but not significantly increased, whereas pterin-6-carboxylic acid and 6-hydroxymethylpterin were found to be excreted in approximately equal amounts in both groups. Urinary excretion levels of pterins were monitored for a period of nine months in a patient being treated with chemotherapy for metastatic ovarian carcinomatosis. We found that the excretion pattern of pterins appeared to correlate with the clinical status of the patient. These results indicate that a definite imbalance in pterin, and possibly folate metabolism, is associated with the presence of malignant diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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