Expression of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), its receptor and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) by ovarian cancer cells and its mitogenic effect on these cells in vitro, suggest that IGF-I may have a role in regulation of human ovarian cancer. We have recently shown IGFBP-2 to be markedly elevated in malignant ovarian cyst fluid in vivo. To identify the origin of increased IGFBP-2 in these cyst fluids, the gene expression and protein content of IGFBP-2 were investigated in 14 malignant and four benign epithelial ovarian neoplasms. IGFBP-2 mRNA was detected in all ovarian specimens and was 2- to 30-fold higher in malignant than in benign neoplasms. Within the malignant tissues IGFBP-2 mRNA levels correlated with the aggressiveness of the tumour and were higher in invasive tumours than in those with borderline pathology. Southern blot analysis revealed no amplification of IGFBP-2 gene in the DNA samples from ovarian tumours regardless of their nature. IGFBP-2 was the major binding protein in tissue extracts, as measured by both Western ligand blotting and immunoblotting, and was significantly higher in malignant than in benign neoplasms. These findings were further supported by immunohistochemical detection of IGFBP-2 in tumour sections. Our data suggest that increased local production by the tumour in vivo is responsible for the increased IGFBP-2 levels in the cyst fluid bathing the ovarian malignancy. This may represent an autocrine regulatory mechanism for IGF-I proliferative effect of ovarian cancer.
- Insulin-like growth factor-I
- Insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins
- Ovarian cancer