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The prognostic importance of cyclooxygenase 2 and HER2 expression in epithelial ovarian cancer
  1. K. D. Steffensen*,,,
  2. M. WaldstrØM§,
  3. U. Jeppesen,
  4. E. Jakobsen*,
  5. I. Brandslund and
  6. A. Jakobsen*
  1. *Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital, Vejle, Denmark;
  2. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Horsens Hospital, Horsens, Denmark;
  3. University of Southern Denmark, Institute for Regional Health Sciences, Odense, Denmark; and Departments of
  4. §Pathology and
  5. Clinical Biochemistry, Vejle Hospital, Vejle, Denmark
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Karina Dahl Steffensen, MD, Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital, Kabbeltoft 25, DK-7100 Vejle, Denmark. Email: Karina.Dahl.Steffensen{at}


Both cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2, also called c-erbB-2) overexpression have been related to a worse prognosis in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), but the data are conflicting and the percentage of tumors with overexpression varies widely in different studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential prognostic value of COX2 and HER2 expression in EOC. A further purpose was to investigate a possible coexpression of the two markers, and finally, to elucidate the agreement between fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for evaluation of the HER2 status in EOC. Immunostaining was performed for COX2/HER2 together with FISH analysis for HER2 gene amplification in 160 patients with EOC, FIGO stages IIB–IV. Follow-up was more than 10 years. COX2 overexpression was found in 20.0% of the tumors. With HER2 staining, 64.4% were scored as 0, 24.4% as 1+, 6.9% as 2+, and 4.4% as 3+. Median survival time for COX2-negative tumors was 21.6 versus 36 months for COX2-positive tumors. The longer survival for COX2 positive was significant by both univariate analysis (P= 0.015) and multivariate analysis (P= 0.025). Positive immunostaining for HER2 was associated with poor overall survival (P= 0.03). Agreement between IHC and FISH was seen in all cases (P < 0.0000001). With long-term observation, patients with negative COX2 expression had significantly shorter survival compared to patients with COX2-positive tumors. Positive HER2 expression also notified a grave prognosis, but the low rate of overexpression reduces its potential clinical application.

  • COX2
  • HER2 amplification
  • HER2 overexpression
  • ovarian cancer
  • prognostic marker

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