The objective of this study was to assess the expression of Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and cell proliferation activity (Ki67 expression) in benign, borderline, and malignant serous and mucinous ovarian tumors. Expression of COX-2 and Ki67 proteins were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, in paraffin-embedded sections of ovarian epithelial tumors. The study included 113 serous (67 benign, 15 borderline, and 31 malignant) and 85 mucinous (48 benign, 28 borderline, and 9 malignant) tumors, removed from women who underwent laparotomy between January 1997 and December 2003. From benign to malignant tumors, there was a progressive positive trend in COX-2 expression in both serous and mucinous tumors, more evident in mucinous ones (P < 0.001). Comparing histologic types, COX-2 expression was more prominent in serous than in mucinous benign tumors (P < 0.01), but this difference was not significant in the borderline (P = 0.11) or malignant categories (P = 0.71). There was a progressive Ki67 positivity in line with the tumor histologic gradient for both serous (P < 0.01) and mucinous lesions (P < 0.01), but this increasing expression did not correlate with COX-2 expression in the present series (P = 0.78). There was a higher COX-2 expression in serous ovarian adenomas than in mucinous ones. COX-2 positivity increases in line with the morphologic gradient, from benign to malignant in both histologic types, but it was more prominent in mucinous lesions, pointing to different oncogenic pathways related to different histologic types. A correlation between the expression of COX-2 and Ki67 was not found, suggesting that COX-2 may be required for carcinogenesis, but this pathway is not responsible for cell proliferation in ovarian tumors.
- borderline ovarian tumors
- cell proliferation
- ovarian cancer
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