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Oviductal Glycoprotein (OVGP1, MUC9): A Differentiation-Based Mucin Present in Serum of Women With Ovarian Cancer
  1. Sarah Maines-Bandiera, MSc*,
  2. Michelle M.M. Woo, PhD*,
  3. Marilyn Borugian, PhD,
  4. Laurie L. Molday, MSc,
  5. Theresa Hii, MSc,
  6. Blake Gilks, MD§,
  7. Peter C.K. Leung, PhD*,
  8. Robert S. Molday, PhD and
  9. Nelly Auersperg, MD, PhD*
  1. *Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
  2. Departments of Population and Public Health,
  3. Departments of Biochemistry, and
  4. §Departments of Pathology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nelly Auersperg, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, BC Women's Hospital, University of British Columbia, 2H30-4490 Oak St, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6H 3V5. E-mail: auersper{at}


Introduction: Epithelial ovarian carcinomas are highly lethal because most are detected at late stages. A previous immunohistochemical analysis showed that oviductal glycoprotein 1 (OVGP1), a secretory product of the oviductal epithelium under estrogen dominance, is produced predominantly by borderline and low-grade malignant epithelial ovarian tumors. In the present study, we investigated OVGP1 as a possible serum marker for the detection of ovarian cancer.

Methods: We generated a highly specific monoclonal antibody, clone 7E10, to human OVGP1. Using 7E10 and a polyclonal antibody, a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed to assay OVGP1 levels in 135 normal sera, and sera from 21 benign tumors, 12 borderline tumors, and 87 ovarian cancers (18, grade 1-2 serous; 44, grade 3 serous; 10, mucinous; 10, clear cell; and 5, endometrioid).

Results: Using a 95% confidence interval cutoff from the mean of normal postmenopausal sera, median OVGP1 levels were elevated in the sera from 75% of the women with borderline tumors and 80% of the women with mucinous, 60% with clear cell, 59% with grade 1 and 2 serous, 22% with grade 3 serous, and 0% with endometrioid carcinomas. By stage, OVGP1 levels were highest in the sera from the borderline tumors, stage I and II serous carcinomas, and mucinous carcinomas. OVGP1 levels varied independently of cancer antigen 125 (CA125).

Conclusions: Increases in OVGP1 serum levels vary with ovarian tumor histotypes and stages. Being differentiation based, OVGP1 seems to detect a different spectrum of ovarian epithelial cancers than other markers and thus should be a useful adjunct for more accurate detection, particularly of early serous ovarian cancers and mucinous carcinomas, which tend to lack increased CA125.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Serum marker
  • OVGP1
  • Oviductal glycoprotein
  • MUC9
  • Differentiation

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  • This study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute of Canada to N.A. and a Canadian Institutes for Health Research grant (MT 5822) to R.S.M.