Increased levels of urinary PGE-M, a biomarker of inflammation, occur in association with obesity, aging, and lung metastases in patients with breast cancer
Elevated levels of COX-derived prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) occur in inflamed tissues. To evaluate the potential links between inflammation and breast cancer, levels of urinary prostaglandin E metabolite (PGE-M), a stable end metabolite of PGE2, were quantified. We enrolled 400 patients with breast cancer: controls with early breast cancer (n = 200), lung metastases (n = 100), and metastases to other sites (n = 100). Patients completed a questionnaire, provided urine, and had measurements of height and weight. Urinary PGE-M was quantified by mass spectrometry. Ever smokers with lung metastasis who had not been exposed to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) had the highest PGE-M levels. PGE-M levels were increased in association with elevated body mass index (BMI; P < 0.001), aging (P < 0.001), pack-year smoking history (P = 0.02), lung metastases (P = 0.02), and recent cytotoxic chemotherapy (P = 0.03). Conversely, use of NSAIDs, prototypic inhibitors of COX activity, was associated with reduced PGE-M levels (P < 0.001). On the basis of the current findings, PGE-M is likely to be a useful biomarker for the selection of high-risk subgroups to determine the use of interventions that aim to reduce inflammation and possibly the development and progression of breast cancer, especially in overweight and obese women.