von Willebrand factor (vWF) multimeric pattern and von Willebrand factor-cleaving protease activity (vWF-cp) were studied using plasmas from patients with advanced stage- and limited stage-malignant tumors. Deficiency of highly polymeric forms of vWF was observed in plasmas from 7 of 11 patients tested. vWF-cp activity was deficient in plasma samples of six patients with advanced stage-malignant tumors (ranging from 6% to 30% activity of normal plasma), whereas an essentially normal vWF-cp activity was observed in samples taken from patients with limited stage-malignant tumors. Inhibitor of vWF-cp was not detected in any plasma samples tested. To further analyze the relevance of this enzymatic activity in metastatic diagnosis, a study of vWF-cp activity was conducted in 17 patients with colon cancer, and it was shown that deficiency of vWF-cp was associated with the progression of the disease.
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