Secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) is amplified in serous ovarian cancer. We have dissected its function, showing it is a survival factor for ovarian cancer and promotes tumorigenesis and paclitaxel-resistance. We hypothesized that the protease inhibitory function was responsible for modulating SLPI’s invasive capacity.
Stable HEYA8 ovarian cancer transfectants expressing vector, wild type SLPI, and protease inhibitor null (F-)SLPI were examined in vitro and in xenografts. Invasion, enzyme activity, and MMP production and function assays were applied. SLPI and MMP immunoexpression were graded on tissue microarray and clinical samples. Statistical comparisons used unpaired T test and ANOVA, where appropriate.
SLPI and F-SLPI cells caused greater parenchymal and peritoneal dissemination over control cells in xenografts and invasion assays (p<0.001). MMP-9 protease activity was increased in SLPI and F-SLPI cells over control. SLPI, but not F-SLPI, inhibited plasmin activity, necessary for MMP-9 activation and release, and inhibited activation of MMP-9. However, paradoxically, both induced quantitative MMP-9 transcription (p<0.05) and protein (p<0.008), yielding an increased net MMP-9 activity in the face of plasmin inhibition. SLPI and MMP-9 expression were strongly correlated in serous ovarian cancers (r2=0.986) and a set of ovarian cancers (p<0.02). SLPI expression was greater in serous than endometrioid ovarian cancers (p=0.04).
SLPI stimulates ovarian cancer invasion, modulated in part by its serine protease inhibitory activity attenuating MMP-9 release. However, SLPI induction of MMP-9, independent of protease inhibition activity, is greater yielding a net pro-invasive behavior. These findings further support SLPI as a molecular target for ovarian cancer.
ovarian cancer; SLPI; MMP-9; metalloproteinase
We show that 1H NMR based metabonomics of serum allows the diagnosis of early stage I/II epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) required for successful treatment. Because patient specimens are highly precious, we conducted an exploratory study using a micro-flow probe requiring only 20 μL serum. By use of logistic regression on principal components (PCs) of the NMR profiles, we built a 4-variable model for early stage EOC prediction (training set: 69 EOC specimens, 84 healthy controls; test set: 40 EOC, 44 controls) with operating characteristics estimated for the test set at 80% specificity [95% confidence interval (CI): 65% to 90%], 63% sensitivity (95% CI: 46% to 77%), and an area under the Receiver Operator Characteristic Curve (AUC) of 0.796. Independent validation (50 EOC, 50 controls) of the model yielded 95% specificity (95% CI: 86% to 99.5%), 68% sensitivity (95% CI: 53% to 80%) and an AUC of 0.949. A test on cancer type specificity showed that women diseased with renal cell carcinoma were not incorrectly diagnosed with EOC, indicating that metabonomics bears significant potential for cancer type-specific diagnosis. Our model can potentially be applied for women at high risk for EOC, and our study promises to contribute to developing a screening protocol for the general population.
Ovarian Cancer; Early Stage Detection; Metabonomics; Cancer-type Specificity; NMR; Micro-flow Probe; Principal Component Analysis; Predictive Statistical Model
The aim of the study was to evaluate predictive and prognostic significance of microtubule-associated protein Tau in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients treated with paclitaxel and platinum-based chemotherapy.
74 patients with EOC (stage I-IV) who underwent cytoreductive surgery followed by standard paclitaxel/platinum chemotherapy were included in the retrospective analysis. Their formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens were immunohistochemically stained for Tau protein, using semi-quantitative DAKO test. Tau expression was acknowledged as negative (0 and 1+) or positive (2+ and 3+). The correlation between Tau expression, progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) was evaluated. Statistical analysis included Kaplan-Meyer estimator, long rank test, Mann Whitney test and Cox proportional hazards model.
25.7% (19/74) and 74.3% (55/74) of the patients were classified as Tau-negative and Tau-positive, respectively. Median PFS was 28.7 months for Tau-negative group and 15.9 months for Tau-positive group (p = 0.0355). In the univariate analysis 3-year OS in Tau-negative and Tau-positive groups was 80.2% and 52.4%, respectively (p = 0.0198). Low expression of protein Tau was associated with better OS, whereas an advanced stage at diagnosis, suboptimal surgery, serous histological type and resistance to first line chemotherapy were each correlated with worse OS (p <0,05). In multivariate analysis only resistance to first line chemotherapy remained significant (HR 22.59; 95% CI, 8.71-58.55; p <0.0001).
Negative tau protein seems to be both good prognostic factor and a predictor of response to paclitaxel/platinum-based chemotherapy in EOC patients.
Tau protein; Ovarian cancer; Predictive factor; Prognostic factor; Chemotherapy
Recently, the vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphism FokI was shown to be associated with susceptibility to ovarian cancer. We aimed to examine whether VDR FokI polymorphisms influence the survivals of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC).
VDR polymorphisms from FokI in 101 patients with EOC were genotyped by sequencing. Overall survival was compared between FokI single nucleotide polymorphism using Kaplan–Meier survival curves with log-rank tests and the Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for ages, stages, histology, and existence of residual tumour.
The FokI C/C genotypes were associated with better prognosis compared with the C/T and T/T genotypes (log-rank test: P=0.008; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.18; 95%CI 0.05–0.61; P=0.006).
These results suggest that the VDR polymorphisms from the FokI genotype may be associated with improved prognosis of patients with EOC.
prognosis; single nuclear polymorphisms; SNPs; biomarker
The clinico-pathological and molecular heterogeneity of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) complicates its early diagnosis and successful treatment. Highly aneuploid tumours and the presence of ascitic fluids are hallmarks of EOC. Two microcephaly-associated proteins, abnormal spindle-like microcephaly-associated protein (ASPM) and microcephalin, are involved in mitosis and DNA damage repair. Their expression is deregulated at the RNA level in EOC. Here, ASPM and microcephalin protein expression in primary cultures established from the ascites of patients with EOC was determined and correlated with clinical data to assess their suitability as biomarkers.
Five established ovarian cancer cell lines, cells derived from two benign ovarian ascites samples and 40 primary cultures of EOC derived from ovarian ascites samples were analysed by protein slot blotting and/or immunofluorescence to determine ASPM and microcephalin protein levels and their cellular localisation. Results were correlated with clinico-pathological data.
A statistically significant correlation was identified for ASPM localisation and tumour grade, with high levels of cytoplasmic ASPM correlating with grade 1 tumours. Conversely, cytoplasmic microcephalin was only identified in high-grade tumours. Furthermore, low levels of nuclear microcephalin correlated with reduced patient survival.
Our results suggest that ASPM and microcephalin have the potential to be biomarkers in ovarian cancer.
epithelial ovarian cancer; ovarian ascites; ASPM; microcephalin; biomarkers
We recently demonstrated that increased expression of the RNA-binding protein RBM3 is associated with a favourable prognosis in breast cancer. The aim of this study was to examine the prognostic value of RBM3 mRNA and protein expression in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and the cisplatin response upon RBM3 depletion in a cisplatin-sensitive ovarian cancer cell line.
RBM3 mRNA expression was analysed in tumors from a cohort of 267 EOC cases (Cohort I) and RBM3 protein expression was analysed using immunohistochemistry (IHC) in an independent cohort of 154 prospectively collected EOC cases (Cohort II). Kaplan Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modelling were applied to assess the relationship between RBM3 and recurrence free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS). Immunoblotting and IHC were used to examine the expression of RBM3 in a cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cell line A2780-Cp70 and its cisplatin-responsive parental cell line A2780. The impact of RBM3 on cisplatin response in EOC was assessed using siRNA-mediated silencing of RBM3 in A2780 cells followed by cell viability assay and cell cycle analysis.
Increased RBM3 mRNA expression was associated with a prolonged RFS (HR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.47-0.86, p = 0.003) and OS (HR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.44-0.95, p = 0.024) in Cohort I. Multivariate analysis confirmed that RBM3 mRNA expression was an independent predictor of a prolonged RFS, (HR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.44-0.84, p = 0.003) and OS (HR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.41-0.95; p = 0.028) in Cohort I. In Cohort II, RBM3 protein expression was associated with a prolonged OS (HR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.35-0.79, p = 0.002) confirmed by multivariate analysis (HR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.40-0.92, p = 0.017). RBM3 mRNA and protein expression levels were significantly higher in the cisplatin sensitive A2780 cell line compared to the cisplatin resistant A2780-Cp70 derivative. siRNA-mediated silencing of RBM3 expression in the A2780 cells resulted in a decreased sensitivity to cisplatin as demonstrated by increased cell viability and reduced proportion of cells arrested in the G2/M-phase.
These data demonstrate that RBM3 expression is associated with cisplatin sensitivity in vitro and with a good prognosis in EOC. Taken together these findings suggest that RBM3 may be a useful prognostic and treatment predictive marker in EOC.
To determine whether preoperative platelets to lymphocyte ratio (PLR) could predict disease stage, surgical outcome, and survival in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC).
Medical records of EOC patients who had surgery between January 2004 and December 2010 were reviewed. Clinicopathological and complete blood count data were collected. The optimal predictive value of PLR to predict advanced stage, suboptimal surgery, and survival was determined and compared with those of thrombocytosis (≥400,000 cells/mm3) and neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) ≥2.6.
A total of 166 EOC patients were included in the study. PLR of 200 yielded better predictive values than those of thrombocytosis and NLR ≥2.6. The area under curve (AUC), sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and accuracy of PLR to predict advanced stage were: 0.66, 59.0%, 72.7%, 65.7%, 66.7%, and 66.3%, respectively. The corresponding values to predict suboptimal surgery were: 0.70, 70.0%, 69.8%, 50.0%, 84.4%, and 69.9%. The patients who had PLR≥200 had significantly shorter progression-free and overall survivals than those with PLR<200. Stage, grade, surgical outcome, thrombocytosis, and PLR were significant prognostic factors for survivals by univariable analyses while only stage remained significant by multivariable analysis.
PLR had potential clinical value in predicting advanced stage disease or suboptimal surgery. PLR was a better prognostic indicator for survivals of EOC patients compared to thrombocytosis or NLR>2.6.
Epithelial ovarian cancer; Optimal surgery; Platelets to lymphocyte ratio; Stage; Survival
The neural transcription factor SOX11 has been described as a prognostic marker in epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC), however its role in individual histological subtypes and tumour grade requires further clarification. Furthermore, methylation-dependent silencing of SOX11 has been reported for B cell lymphomas and indicates that epigenetic drugs may be used to re-express this tumour suppressor, but information on SOX11 promoter methylation in EOC is still lacking.
SOX11 expression and clinicopathological data was compared using χ2 test in a cohort of 154 cases of primary invasive EOC. Kaplan-Meier analysis and the log rank test were applied to evaluate ovarian cancer-specific survival (OCSS) and overall survival (OS) in strata, according to SOX11 expression. Also, the methylation status of the SOX11 promoter was determined by sodium bisulfite sequencing and methylation specific PCR (MSP). Furthermore, the effect of ectopic overexpression of SOX11 on proliferation was studied through [3H]-thymidine incorporation.
SOX11 expression was associated with an improved survival of patients with high grade EOC, although not independent of stage. Further analyses of EOC cell lines showed that SOX11 mRNA and protein were expressed in two of five cell lines, correlating with promoter methylation status. Demethylation was successfully performed using 5'-Aza-2'deoxycytidine (5-Aza-dC) resulting in SOX11 mRNA and protein expression in a previously negative EOC cell line. Furthermore, overexpression of SOX11 in EOC cell lines confirmed the growth regulatory role of SOX11.
SOX11 is a functionally associated protein in EOC with prognostic value for high-grade tumours. Re-expression of SOX11 in EOC indicates a potential use of epigenetic drugs to affect cellular growth in SOX11-negative tumours.
SOX11; EOC; DNA methylation; epigenetic regulation
The Dachshund homolog 2 (DACH2) gene has been implicated in development of the female genital tract in mouse models and premature ovarian failure syndrome, but to date, its expression in human normal and cancerous tissue remains unexplored. Using the Human Protein Atlas as a tool for cancer biomarker discovery, DACH2 protein was found to be differentially expressed in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Here, the expression and prognostic significance of DACH2 was further evaluated in ovarian cancer cell lines and human EOC samples.
Immunohistochemical expression of DACH2 was examined in tissue microarrays with 143 incident EOC cases from two prospective, population-based cohorts, including a subset of benign-appearing fallopian tubes (n = 32). A nuclear score (NS), i.e. multiplier of staining fraction and intensity, was calculated. For survival analyses, cases were dichotomized into low (NS < = 3) and high (NS > 3) using classification and regression tree analysis. Kaplan Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modelling were used to assess the impact of DACH2 expression on survival. DACH2 expression was analysed in the cisplatin sensitive ovarian cancer cell line A2780 and its cisplatin resistant derivative A2780-Cp70. The specificity of the DACH2 antibody was tested using siRNA-mediated silencing of DACH2 in A2780-Cp70 cells.
DACH2 expression was considerably higher in the cisplatin resistant A2780-Cp70 cells compared to the cisplatin-sensitive A2780 cells. While present in all sampled fallopian tubes, DACH2 expression ranged from negative to strong in EOC. In EOC, DACH2 expression correlated with several proteins involved in DNA integrity and repair, and proliferation. DACH2 expression was significantly higher in carcinoma of the serous subtype compared to non-serous carcinoma. In the full cohort, high DACH2 expression was significantly associated with poor prognosis in univariable analysis, and in carcinoma of the serous subtype, DACH2 remained an independent factor of poor prognosis.
This study provides a first demonstration of DACH2 protein being expressed in human fallopian tubes and EOC, with the highest expression in serous carcinoma where DACH2 was found to be an independent biomarker of poor prognosis. Future research should expand on the role of DACH2 in ovarian carcinogenesis and chemotherapy resistance.
DACH2; ovarian cancer; prognosis
The ability to predict responses to chemotherapy for serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) would be valuable since intrinsically chemoresistant EOC patients (persistent or recurrent disease within 6 months) gain little benefit from standard chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to screen and identify distinctive biomarkers in ascites of serous EOC associated with intrinsic chemoresistance.
Protein samples from ascites of 12 chemosensitive and 7 intrinsically chemoresistant serous EOC patients were analyzed using two-dimensional fluorescence difference in gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) coupled with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS). Furthermore, the identified proteins were validated by ELISA in ascites samples from 19 chemosensitive and 9 intrinsically chemoresistant EOC patients.
The number of spots detected in all 2-D DIGE gels ranged from 1523–1711 using DeCyder software analysis. Thirty-four spots were differentially expressed based on the criteria of an average ratio of more than 1.5 and a student t-test P value <0.05. After MALDI-TOF/TOF MS analysis, 11 differentially expressed proteins, including 3 up-regulated and 8 down-regulated proteins, in ascites of chemoresistant tumors were successfully identified. Of the four selected proteins (ceruloplasmin, apoliprotein A-IV, transthyretin and haptoglobin) in ascites tested by ELISA, only ceruloplasmin was present at significantly different levels between the chemoresistant and chemosensitive ascites samples with average concentrations of 192.2 µg/ml and 157.5 µg/ml, respectively (P = 0.001).
The significantly up-regulated level of ceruloplasmin in the ascites fluid of intrinsic chemoresistant serous EOC patients suggests its potential as a prognostic biomarker for responses to chemotherapy. This finding prompts further investigation with a larger study in order to validate the clinical utility of ceruloplasmin.
Protein kinase C (PKC) activation contributes to proliferation and angiogenesis in epithelial ovarian or primary peritoneal carcinoma (EOC/PPC). A multi-institutional phase II trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of PKCβ inhibitor enzastaurin in persistent or recurrent EOC/PPC and to explore potential prognostic and predictive biomarkers.
Eligible women with measurable platinum-sensitive and resistant EOC/PPC were treated with continuous administration of oral enzastaurin until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. A two-stage sequential design was used to evaluate progression-free survival (PFS) ≥ 6-months, tumor response, and toxicity. Translational studies included sequencing of the TP53, PTEN, PIK3CA and PKCβII genes for somatic mutations, quantitative PCR assays for AKT2 and PTEN copy number alterations, and measurement of circulating VEGF-A plasma levels.
Among 27 eligible and evaluable patients, 3 women with PFS ≥ 6-months (11%) and 2 women with partial responses (7%) were observed. One of them achieved a durable response and remains on the study. No grade 4 adverse events were observed. Most common grade 3 adverse events were constitutional (4) and gastrointestinal (3). Mutations in the TP53 gene and abnormal copy number in the PTEN gene were common (56% and 48% of cases, respectively).
Enzastaurin was tolerable but had insufficient activity to proceed with the second stage of accrual. However, 1 patient has been progression-free for 44 months. No association between a biomarker and response to enzastaurin has been found.
Exploratory analysis suggested an association between survival and PTEN copy number losses.
Enzastaurin; ovarian cancer; VEGF PKCβ; TP53; PTEN; PIK3CA; AKT2
The essential role of progranulin (PGRN) as a neurotrophic factor has been demonstrated by the discovery that haploinsufficiency due to GRN gene mutations causes frontotemporal lobar dementia. In addition to neurons, microglia in vivo express PGRN, but little is known about the regulation of PGRN expression by microglia.
In the current study, we examined the regulation of expression and function of PGRN, its proteolytic enzyme macrophage elastase (MMP-12), as well as the inhibitor of PGRN proteolysis, secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), in human CNS cells.
Cultures of primary human microglia and astrocytes were stimulated with the TLR ligands (LPS or poly IC), Th1 cytokines (IL-1/IFNγ), or Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-13). Results were analyzed by Q-PCR, immunoblotting or ELISA. The roles of MMP-12 and SLPI in PGRN cleavage were also examined.
Unstimulated microglia produced nanogram levels of PGRN, and PGRN release from microglia was suppressed by the TLR ligands or IL-1/IFNγ, but increased by IL-4 or IL-13. Unexpectedly, while astrocytes stimulated with proinflammatory factors released large amounts of SLPI, none were detected in microglial cultures. We also identified MMP-12 as a PGRN proteolytic enzyme, and SLPI as an inhibitor of MMP-12-induced PGRN proteolysis. Experiments employing PGRN siRNA demonstrated that microglial PGRN was involved in the cytokine and chemokine production following TLR3/4 activation, with its effect on TNFα being the most conspicuous.
Our study is the first detailed examination of PGRN in human microglia. Our results establish microglia as a significant source of PGRN, and MMP-12 and SLPI as modulators of PGRN proteolysis. Negative and positive regulation of microglial PGRN release by the proinflammatory/Th1 and the Th2 stimuli, respectively, suggests a fundamentally different aspect of PGRN regulation compared to other known microglial activation products. Microglial PGRN appears to function as an endogenous modulator of innate immune responses.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) has an innate susceptibility to become chemoresistant. Up to 30% of patients do not respond to conventional chemotherapy [paclitaxel (Taxol®) in combination with carboplatin] and, of those who have an initial response, many patients relapse. Therefore, an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate cellular chemotherapeutic responses in EOC cells has the potential to impact significantly on patient outcome. The mitotic arrest deficiency protein 2 (MAD2), is a centrally important mediator of the cellular response to paclitaxel. MAD2 immunohistochemical analysis was performed on 82 high-grade serous EOC samples. A multivariate Cox regression analysis of nuclear MAD2 IHC intensity adjusting for stage, tumour grade and optimum surgical debulking revealed that low MAD2 IHC staining intensity was significantly associated with reduced progression-free survival (PFS) (p = 0.0003), with a hazard ratio of 4.689. The in vitro analyses of five ovarian cancer cell lines demonstrated that cells with low MAD2 expression were less sensitive to paclitaxel. Furthermore, paclitaxel-induced activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) and apoptotic cell death was abrogated in cells transfected with MAD2 siRNA. In silico analysis identified a miR-433 binding domain in the MAD2 3′ UTR, which was verified in a series of experiments. Firstly, MAD2 protein expression levels were down-regulated in pre-miR-433 transfected A2780 cells. Secondly, pre-miR-433 suppressed the activity of a reporter construct containing the 3′-UTR of MAD2. Thirdly, blocking miR-433 binding to the MAD2 3′ UTR protected MAD2 from miR-433 induced protein down-regulation. Importantly, reduced MAD2 protein expression in pre-miR-433-transfected A2780 cells rendered these cells less sensitive to paclitaxel. In conclusion, loss of MAD2 protein expression results in increased resistance to paclitaxel in EOC cells. Measuring MAD2 IHC staining intensity may predict paclitaxel responses in women presenting with high-grade serous EOC. Copyright © 2012 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
miR-433; MAD2; chemoresistance; epithelial ovarian cancer; paclitaxel
The alarm anti-protease secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) is frequently overexpressed in ovarian cancer cells and has been proposed for inclusion in biomarker panels bits function remains unclear. We hypothesized that SLPI overexpression promotes ovarian cancer growth and survival. Low SLPI-expressing Hey-A8 ovarian cancer cells were engineered to produce functional (WT) or protease inhibitor-null (PI-) mutant SLPI; lack of PI activity was confirmed by enzymatic assay. WT/SLPI and PI- mutants stimulated significant proliferation and survival of Hey-A8 ovarian cancer cells under basal culture conditions (P≤0.02), in soft agar colony number and size (P≤0.05), and in anoikis resistance (P≤0.005). SLPI protected the ovarian cancer survival factor, progranulin (PRGN), and HEY-A8 cells from degradation and apoptosis due to neutrophil elastase. PI-/SLPI cells had greater protective activity than WT/SLPI cells. HEY-A8 murine xenografts revealed enhanced solid tumor formation, dissemination, and invasion in WT/SLPI and PI-/SLPI mutants. Increased proliferation was demonstrated by Ki-67 staining (P≤0.02). Increased secreted PRGN was seen in culture and was also observed by immunohistochemistry in the SLPI transfectant xenografts. This study describes a PI-independent function for SLPI in ovarian cancer growth and dissemination.
Preclinical data suggest an important role for the sarcoma proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase (SRC) in the oncogenesis of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) or primary peritoneal carcinoma (PPC). The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) conducted a Phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of dasatinib, an oral SRC-family inhibitor in EOC/PPC and explored biomarkers for possible association with clinical outcome.
Eligible women had measurable, recurrent or persistent EOC/PPC and had received one or two prior regimens which must have contained a platinum and a taxane. Patients were treated with 100 mg orally daily of dasatinib continuously until progression of disease or adverse effects prevented further treatment. Primary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) ≥6 months and response rate. Serial plasma samples were assayed for multiple biomarkers. Circulating free DNA was quantified as were circulating tumor and endothelial cells.
Thirty-five (35) patients were enrolled in a two-stage sequential design. Of the 34 eligible and evaluable patients, 20.6% (90% confidence interval: 10.1%, 35.2%) had a PFS ≥6 months; there were no objective responses. Grade 3–4 toxicities were gastrointestinal (mostly nausea and emesis; n=4), pulmonary (dyspnea and/or pleural effusion; n=4) and pain (n=5), and infrequent instances of anemia, malaise, insomnia, rash, and central nervous system hemorrhage. Lack of clinical activity limited any correlation of biomarkers with outcome.
Dasatinib has minimal activity as a single-agent in patients with recurrent EOC/PPC.
dasatinib; ovarian; cancer; SRC; inhibition
Receptors for estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PR) are prognostic indicators for a variety of endocrine tumors including breast and endometrial. This study was conducted to determine if ER and PR expression patterns are predictive of outcome in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) or ovarian low malignant potential (LMP) tumors.
ER and PR protein levels were assessed by immunohistochemistry in 45 LMP and 89 EOC samples. Patterns of ER/PR expression (individually and combinations of ER−/PR−, ER+/PR−, ER/PR+, and ER+/PR+) were correlated with standard prognostic factors of overall survival (OS) in this patient population.
For patients with EOC, the 5-year OS per ER−/PR+, ER+/PR−, ER+/PR+, and ER−/PR− expression were 83%, 79%, 61%, and 48%, respectively, and these differences were statistically significant. In multivariate analyses, ER/PR expression patterns were found to be independent predictors of OS, as were the classical prognostic factors of grade, stage, debulking, and chemotherapy response to treatment. In patients with mucinous LMP tumors, ER and PR were absent. Because no LMP patients died of disease during the studied period, no correlation analysis with OS could be performed.
Patterns of ER/PR expression provide prognostic information in EOC. Additional studies evaluating hormonal inhibition may help personalize the therapy of patients with ovarian cancer.
The use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by tumor reduction surgery, also called interval debulking surgery (IDS), is considered an alternative therapeutic regimen for selected patients with advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Although minimal residual disease has been proven to be a prognostic factor in traditional cytoreduction for advanced stage EOC, predictive factors after IDS still remain unexplored. The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic value of post-neoadjuvant histologic changes with clinical outcome. Three pathologists evaluated 67 cases for the following parameters: fibrosis, necrosis, residual tumor, and inflammation. The Cohen's kappa statistic was used to measure agreement among pathologists. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine the association between histologic parameters and recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS). There was substantial to almost perfect agreement among the three pathologists in all four histologic parameters (k ranged from 0.65 to 0.97). Fibrosis was associated with longer RFS (P = 0.0257) with a median of 20 months for tumors with fibrosis (3+) versus 12 months for tumors with fibrosis (1+, 2+) and longer OS (P = 0.0249) with a median of 51 months for tumors with fibrosis (3+) versus 32 months for tumors with fibrosis (1+, 2+). Our results revealed that patients with tumors exhibiting fibrosis (1+, 2+), as well as necrosis (0, 1+), had significant shorter RFS and OS (P = 0.059 and P = 0.0234, respectively). We suggest that the assessment of fibrosis and necrosis should be implemented in pathologic evaluation and prospectively validated in future studies.
To assess the clinical impact of the two histological types as designated in the proposed model for ovarian tumourigenesis in primary epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer (EOC) patients.
All consecutive EOC patients (n=632) after primary tumour debulking in our institution (09/2000–08/2010) were classified into one of two groups: type I tumours (n=100; 15.8%) composed of low-grade serous, low-grade endometrioid, clear cell, mucinous and transitional carcinomas; and Type II tumours (n=532; 84.1%) composed of high-grade serous, high-grade endometrioid, undifferentiated and malignant mixed-mesodermal tumours. Kaplan–Meier and logistic/Cox-regression analyses were performed to assess the impact of histological type on surgical outcome and survival.
Type II patients had a significantly higher incidence of advanced disease (FIGO III/IV) than Type I patients (79.8% vs 38%, respectively; P<0.001). Median CA125 values (438 vs 93 U ml−1; P=0.001); operative time (258 vs 237 min; P=0.001); and incidence of incomplete tumour resection (34.4% vs 15% P<0.001) were significantly higher in patients with Type II. During a mean follow-up time of 23 months (range: 1–106), 17% of patients with type I vs 34.8% of patients with type II tumours relapsed and/or died (P<0.001). Overall survival (P=0.021) and progression-free survival (P=0.003) were also significantly higher in patients with type I tumours. Multivariate analysis, while identifying postoperative tumour residuals, positive lymph nodes and extrapelvic dissemination as independent predictors of survival, failed to demonstrate any prognostic significance of histological type.
Type I EOC patients appear to present at earlier stages have significantly higher survival and more optimal surgical outcome compared with type II patients. However, in advanced stages, histology loses significance as an independent prognosticator.
ovarian carcinogenesis; type I and type II tumours; tumour pattern; survival; primary cytoreduction
Traditional prognostic factors in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) are inadequate in predicting recurrence and long-term prognosis, but genome-wide cancer research has recently provided multiple potentially useful biomarkers. The gene codifying for Mammaglobin B (MGB-2) has been selected from our previous microarray analysis performed on 19 serous papillary epithelial ovarian cancers and its expression has been further investigated on multiple histological subtypes, both at mRNA and protein level. Since, to date, there is no information available on the prognostic significance of MGB-2 expression in cancer, the aim of this study was to determine its prognostic potential on survival in a large cohort of well-characterized EOC patients.
MGB-2 expression was evaluated by quantitative real time-PCR in fresh-frozen tissue biopsies and was validated by immunohistochemistry in matched formalin fixed-paraffin embedded tissue samples derived from a total of 106 EOC patients and 27 controls. MGB-2 expression was then associated with the clinicopathologic features of the tumors and was correlated with clinical outcome.
MGB-2 expression was found significantly elevated in EOC compared to normal ovarian controls, both at mRNA and protein level. A good correlation was detected between MGB-2 expression data obtained by the two different techniques. MGB-2 expressing tumors were significantly associated with several clinicopathologic characteristics defining a less aggressive tumor behavior. Univariate survival analysis revealed a decreased risk for cancer-related death, recurrence and disease progression in MGB-2-expressing patients (p < 0.05). Moreover, multivariate analysis indicated that high expression levels of MGB-2 transcript (HR = 0.25, 95%, 0.08–0.75, p = 0.014) as well as positive immunostaining for the protein (HR = 0.41, 95%CI, 0.17–0.99, p = 0.048) had an independent prognostic value for disease-free survival.
This is the first report documenting that MGB-2 expression characterizes less aggressive forms of EOC and is correlated with a favorable outcome. These findings suggest that the determination of MGB-2, especially at molecular level, in EOC tissue obtained after primary surgery can provide additional prognostic information about the risk of recurrence.
Patients diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) have improved outcomes when cared for at centers experienced in the management of EOC. The objective of this trial was to validate a predictive model to assess the risk for EOC in women with a pelvic mass.
Women diagnosed with a pelvic mass and scheduled to have surgery were enrolled on a multicenter prospective study. Preoperative serum levels of HE4 and CA125 were measured. Separate logistic regression algorithms for premenopausal and postmenopausal women were utilized to categorize patients into low and high risk groups for EOC.
Twelve sites enrolled 531 evaluable patients with 352 benign tumors, 129 EOC, 22 LMP tumors, 6 non EOC and 22 non ovarian cancers. The postmenopausal group contained 150 benign cases of which 112 were classified as low risk giving a specificity of 75.0% (95% CI 66.9-81.4), and 111 EOC and 6 LMP tumors of which 108 were classified as high risk giving a sensitivity of 92.3% (95% CI=85.9-96.4). The premenopausal group had 202 benign cases of which 151 were classified as low risk providing a specificity of 74.8% (95% CI=68.2--80.6), and 18 EOC and 16 LMP tumors of which 26 were classified as high risk, providing a sensitivity of 76.5% (95% CI=58.8--89.3).
An algorithm utilizing HE4 and CA125 successfully classified patients into high and low risk groups with 93.8% of EOC correctly classified as high risk. This model can be used to effectively triage patients to centers of excellence.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is a significant cause of cancer-related mortality in women, and there has been no substantial decrease in the death rates due to EOC in the last three decades. Thus, basic knowledge regarding ovarian tumor cell biology is urgently needed to allow the development of innovative treatments for EOC. Traditionally, EOC has not been considered an immunogenic tumor, but there is evidence of an immune response to EOC in patients. Clinical data demonstrate that an antitumor immune response and immune evasion mechanisms are correlated with a better and lower survival, respectively, providing evidence for the immunoediting hypothesis in EOC. This review focuses on the immune response and immune suppression in EOC. The immunological roles of chemotherapy and surgery in EOC are also described. Finally, we detail pilot data supporting the efficiency of immunotherapy in the treatment of EOC and the emerging concept that immunomodulation aimed at counteracting the immunosuppressive microenvironment must be associated with immunotherapy strategies.
Ovarian carcinoma; Immunity; Immune suppression
Twist is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of tumour suppressors such as E-cadherin. We examined the distribution and expression of Twist in human epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) to examine its clinical significance. Paraffin sections from EOC tissues (n=82) were immunostained with Twist antibody, and the staining intensity was evaluated. The clinicopathological factors examined were age, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics staging, histological type, tumour grade, preoperative value of CA125, peritoneal cytology, volume of ascites and residual tumour after cytoreductive surgery. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated using the Kaplan–Meier method, and multivariate analysis was performed using the Cox proportional hazard analysis. Of the 82 carcinomas, 49 (59.8%) cases were negative for Twist immunoexpression, and 33 (40.2%) were positive immunoexpression. When categorized into negative vs positive expression, Twist was not associated with any of the clinicopathological parameters examined. However, positive Twist expression significantly predicted poorer OS and PFS when compared with negative expression (P<0.0001). In the multivariate analyses, positive Twist expression was the only independent prognostic factor for survival in this study (P<0.0001). Positive Twist expression seems to be a useful marker in patients with EOC likely to have an unfavourable clinical outcome.
Twist; prognosis; immunohistochemistry; epithelial ovarian carcinoma
Epithelial ovarian cancer stem cells (EOC stem cells) have been associated with recurrence and chemoresistance. CD44 and CK18 are highly expressed in cancer stem cells and function as tools for their identification and characterization. We investigated the association between the number of CD44+ EOC stem cells in ovarian cancer tumors and progression-free survival. EOC stem cells exist as clusters located close to the stroma forming the cancer stem cell “niche”. 17.1% of the samples reveled high number of CD44+ EOC stem cells (>20% positive cells). In addition, the number of CD44+ EOC stem cells was significantly higher in patients with early-stage ovarian cancer (FIGO I/II), and it was associated with shorter progression-free survival (P = 0.026). This study suggests that quantification of the number of EOC stem cells in the tumor can be used as a predictor of disease and could be applied for treatment selection in early-stage ovarian cancer.
Proline-, glutamic acid-, and leucine-rich protein 1 (PELP1), a coregulator of the estrogen receptors (ERs) alpha and beta, is a potential proto-oncogene in hormone dependent gynecological malignancies. To better understand the role of PELP1 in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), the protein expression and prognostic significance of PELP1 was evaluated together with ERalpha and ERbeta in EOC tissues.
The expression of PELP1, ERalpha, and ERbeta was characterized in tumor tissues of 63 EOC patients. The prognostic value was calculated performing log-rank tests and multivariate Cox-Regression analysis. In a second step, validation analysis in an independent set of 86 serous EOC patients was performed.
Nuclear PELP1 expression was present in 76.2% of the samples. Prevalence of PELP1 expression in mucinous tumors was significantly lower (37.5%) compared to serous (85.7%) and endometrioid tumors (86.7%). A significant association between PELP1 expression and nuclear ERbeta staining was found (p=0.01). Positive PELP1 expression was associated with better disease-free survival (DFS) (p=0.004) and overall survival (OS) (p=0.04). The combined expression of ERbeta+/PELP1+ revealed an independent association with better DFS (HR 0.3 [0.1-0.7], p=0.004) and OS (HR 0.3 [0.1-0.7], p=0.005). In the validation set, the combined expression of ERbeta+/PELP1+ was not associated with DFS (HR 0.7 [0.4-1.3], p=0.3) and OS (HR 0.7 [0.3-1.4], p=0.3).
Positive immunohistochemical staining for the ER coregulator PELP1, alone and in combination with ERbeta, might be of prognostic relevance in EOC.
PELP1; Estrogen receptor alpha; Estrogen receptor beta; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis; Ovarian cancer
Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been found to be associated with a variety of diseases, including epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Recently, miR-100 was reported to be downregulated in human ovarian carcinoma, however, the clinical significance and functional roles of miR-100 expression in human EOC are unclear. TaqMan real-time quantitative RT-PCR assay was performed to detect the expression of miR-100 in 98 EOC tissues and 15 adjacent normal epithelial tissues. The relationship between miR-100 expression and clinicopathological factors in 98 EOC patients was statistically analyzed. The effect of miR-100 expression on patient survival was determined. Finally, the role of miR-100 in EOC cell growth and its possible mechanisms were analyzed with miR-100 precursor or inhibitor-transfected cells. We showed that the level of miR-100 was significantly lower in EOC tissues compared to adjacent normal tissues. Low miR-100 expression was found to be closely correlated with advanced FIGO stage, higher serum CA125 expression level and lymph node involvement. Also, low miR-100 expression was correlated with shorter overall survival of EOC patients, and multivariate analysis showed that the status of miR-100 expression was an independent predictor of overall survival in EOC. Additionally, miR-100 could affect the growth of EOC cells by post-transcriptionally regulating polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) expression. Together, these results suggest that low miR-100 expression may be an independent poor prognostic factor and miR-100 can function as a tumor suppressor by targeting PLK1 in human EOCs.
epithelial ovarian carcinoma; microRNA-100; TaqMan real-time RT-PCR; prognosis; overall survival; polo-like kinase 1