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.
- growth factor receptors
- ovarian cancer
- prognostic factors
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