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The growth factor receptors HER-2/neu and EGFR, their relationship, and their effects on the prognosis in early stage (FIGO I-II) epithelial ovarian carcinoma
  1. I. Skirnisdóttir1,
  2. B. Sorbe2 and
  3. T. Seidal3
  1. 1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital, Uppsala
  2. 2Department of Gynecological Oncology, Örebro Medical Center Hospital, Örebro, and
  3. 3Department of Pathology, Karlstad Medical Center Hospital, Karlstad, Sweden
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests: I. Skirnisdöttir, MD, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


Epithelial ovarian cancer is a heterogeneous disease and many biologic and molecular factors are important for its development and progression, including growth rate, metastatic potential, chemo- and radiosensitivity, and prognosis. Even in the early stages (FIGO I–II), many questions persist about the biologic behavior, optimal treatment, and prognosis.

In a series of 106 patients with epithelial ovarian cancers in FIGO stages IA-IIC, a number of known prognostic factors (age, FIGO stage, histopathologic type, and tumor grade) were studied in relation to two important growth factor receptors for oncogenesis (HER-2/neu and EGFR). Immunohistochemical techniques were used. All patients received adjuvant radiotherapy 4–6 weeks after the primary surgery. In a univariate analysis, the expression of the HER-2/neu receptor was not associated with any of the clinicopathologic factors studied or survival status. Positive EGFR staining was associated with poor survival in a univariate analysis. Co-expression of HER-2/neu and EGFR was most frequently seen in serous tumors and positive staining for HER-2/neu alone was associated with mucinous tumors. Both endometrioid and clear cell tumors belonged to the largest subgroup with concomitant negativity for both HER-2/neu and EGFR. In a multivariate Cox analysis, the tumor grade and EGFR status of the tumors were independent and significant prognostic factors. A therapeutic strategy for epithelial ovarian cancer might be to decrease EGFR expression by gene therapy in combination with adjuvant radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

  • EGFR
  • growth factor receptors
  • HER-2/neu
  • ovarian cancer
  • prognostic factors

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