Background: Nuclear expression of Y box-binding protein (YB-1), a member of the DNA binding protein family, has been reported to be much more highly concentrated in cisplatin-resistant cell lines than in their parental counterparts, suggesting an ability to limit cisplatin sensitivity. Moreover, YB-1 plays a key role in P-glycoprotein expression. Because ovarian carcinoma traditionally has been treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy, the sensitivity of the tumors to chemotherapy could reflect a particular prognosis in patients with ovarian carcinoma. The aim of the current study was to determine whether YB-1 expression correlated with prognosis in ovarian serous adenocarcinoma patients.
Methods: The expression of YB-1 in the nucleus was examined immunohistochemically in 42 paraffin embedded primary Stage III (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) serous ovarian carcinoma tumors extirpated by primary surgery at Kyushu University Hospital between 1985-1995.
Results: Of the 40 primary ovarian tumors examined, 12 (30%) were positive for YB-1 expression in the nucleus. There was no significant difference in intraperitoneal stage, histologic grade, or residual tumor size after primary surgery between patients with tumors with positive and those with negative nuclear expression of YB-1 protein. The disease free survival curve for patients whose tumors were positive for nuclear expression of YB-1 protein was significantly worse than that for patients whose tumors were negative (P = 0.0025). P-glycoprotein was overexpressed in 4 of 12 tumors with nuclear YB-1 expression (33%) but there was no statistical significance between the expression of nuclear YB-1 and P-glycoprotein.
Conclusions: The expression of YB- 1 protein in the nucleus may be considered a useful prognostic marker and also may reflect the sensitivity of ovarian serous adenocarcinoma to chemotherapy.