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Br J Cancer. 2000 June; 82(12): 1974–1983.
Published online 2000 May 18. doi:  10.1054/bjoc.2000.1146
PMCID: PMC2363243

Expression of transcription factor AP-2α predicts survival in epithelial ovarian cancer


The 52-kDa activator protein (AP)-2 is a DNA-binding transcription factor which has been reported to have growth inhibitory effects in cancer cell lines and in human tumours. In this study the expression of AP-2α was analysed in 303 epithelial ovarian carcinomas by immunohistochemistry (IHC) with a polyclonal AP-2α antibody and its mRNA status was determined by in situ hybridization (ISH) and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The immunohistochemical expression of AP-2α was correlated with clinicopathological variables, p21/WAF1 protein expression and survival. In normal ovaries, epithelial cells expressed AP-2α protein only in the cytoplasm. In carcinomas nuclear AP-2α expression was observed in 28% of the cases although cytoplasmic expression was more common (51%). The expression of AP-2α varied according to the histological subtype and differentiation. AP-2α and p21/WAF1 expressions did not correlate with each other. Both in univariate (P = 0.002) and multivariate analyses (relative risks (RR) 1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13–2.18, P = 0.007) the high cytoplasmic AP-2α expression favoured the overall survival. In contrast, the nuclear AP-2α expression combined with low cytoplasmic expression increased the risk of dying of ovarian cancer (RR = 2.10, 95% CI 1.13–3.83, P = 0.018). The shift in the expression pattern of AP-2α (nuclear vs cytoplasmic) in carcinomas points out to the possibility that this transcription factor may be used by oncogenes in certain histological subtypes. Based on the mRNA analyses, the incomplete expression and translation of AP-2α in ovarian cancer may be due to post-transcriptional regulation. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign

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