Molecular Imaging and Biology

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 375–381 | Cite as

Linked Hexokinase and Glucose-6-Phosphatase Activities Reflect Grade of Ovarian Malignancy

  • Birgitte Brinkmann OlsenEmail author
  • Albert Gjedde
  • Mie Holm Vilstrup
  • Iben Birgit Gade Johnsen
  • Gudrun Neumann
  • Drew Avedis Torigian
  • Abass Alavi
  • Poul Flemming Høilund-Carlsen
Research Article



Malignant cells exhibit increased rates of aerobic glycolysis. Here, we tested whether the accumulation of fluoro-deoxyglucose-6-phosphate (FDG6P) in ovarian cancers of differential malignancy reflects inversely correlated elevations of hexokinase (HK) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) activities.


Twenty-nine women with suspected ovarian cancer had positron emission tomography (PET) prior to surgery. From fresh-frozen tissue, we determined the activities of HK and G6Pase, and from the PET images, we determined the tumor maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose.


The SUVmax of malignant lesions significantly exceeded the SUVmax of benign (p < 0.005) and borderline lesions (p < 0.0005) that did not differ significantly. We found no significant correlation between measured HK or G6Pase activities and histological tumor type or SUVmax except that G6Pase activities were higher in malignant than borderline lesions (p < 0.05). Measured HK and G6Pase activities correlated inversely (p < 0.05). The slopes from the regression lines of the three correlations yielded positively correlated abscissa and ordinate intercepts, designated HKmax and G6Pasemax, respectively (r = 0.67, p < 0.0001). The positive correlations between the abscissa and ordinate intercepts with SUVmax had regression coefficients of r = 0.44, p < 0.05; and r = 0.39, p < 0.05, respectively.


The results distinguished two ovarian cancer phenotypes, one with elevated HK activity and low G6Pase activity, and another with the opposite characteristics.

Key Words

Ovarian cancer FDG Glucose-6-phosphatase Hexokinase Positron emission tomography (PET) 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Twenty-three patients were enrolled prospectively after both oral and written information and signed consent. Six patients were enrolled retrospectively, with previously obtained formal consent to retroactive use of tissue still valid.

Supplementary material

11307_2018_1247_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (463 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 463 kb)


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Copyright information

© World Molecular Imaging Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgitte Brinkmann Olsen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Albert Gjedde
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mie Holm Vilstrup
    • 1
  • Iben Birgit Gade Johnsen
    • 3
  • Gudrun Neumann
    • 4
  • Drew Avedis Torigian
    • 5
  • Abass Alavi
    • 5
  • Poul Flemming Høilund-Carlsen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear MedicineOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Clinical ResearchUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Clinical PathologyOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of MedicineHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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