Apoptosis and apoptosis-related proteins in the epithelium of human ovarian tumors: Immunohistochemical and morphometric studies

H. Ben-Hur, P. Gurevich, M. Huszar, A. Ben-Arie, V. Berman, Y. Tendler, R. Tchanishev, O. Zinder, G. Mor, Y. Zaltsman, F. Kohen, I. Zusman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The origin of malignant ovarian tumors is the subject of considerable controversy, which may be resolved by elucidation of molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis. Therefore we have undertaken the study of apoptosis in these tumors. Methods: Apoptosis and the expression of its related proteins, Fas, Fas ligand (FasL), bcl-2 and p53, in epithelial cells of human ovarian tumors of different histological grades, were determined immunohistochemically and morphometrically. Results: Apoptosis-related proteins were absent from ovarian epithelia of patients afflicted with non-cancerous diseases. In ovarian tumors, the distribution of individual proteins varied, and depended on the grade and type of tumor. Fas and FasL were highly expressed in all tumors, while epithelial cells expressing bcl-2 were abundant in benign tumors, but their numbers significantly dwindled with the progression of malignancy. Cells expressing p53 were found in borderline tumors, and their numbers increased with malignancy, inverse of bcl-2 expression. Apoptotic tumor cells were scarce in borderline tumors and abundant in carcinomas. Grouping apoptosis was found in approximately 60% of the carcinomas. Conclusions: The initial development of ovarian tumors is accompanied by high epithelial expression of Fas, FasL and bcl-2 proteins, while apoptosis and p53 proteins are detected only at later stages of tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-253
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Gynaecological Oncology
Volume20
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Fas
  • Fas ligand
  • Ovarian tumors
  • bcl-2
  • p53

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