Study: To examine the expression of the imprinted maternally expressed H19 gene in benign, low malignant potential (borderline) and malignant surface epithelial ovarian tumors.
Design: In situ hybridization for H19 RNA using S-labeled and digoxigenin-labeled probes was performed on paraffin sections of ovarian surface epithelial tumors. The serous tumors included nine section cystadenomas, twelve serous tumors of low malignant potential and twenty serous carcinomas, grade I-IIII (FIGO classification). A smaller group included two mucinous cystadenomas, four mucinous tumors of low malignant potential and two mucinous cystadenocarcinomas.
Results: H19 expression was found to be positive in 6/9 (67%) serous cystadenomas, 9/12 (75%) of serous tumors of low malignant potential and 13/20 (65%) of invasive serous carcinomas. Expression in mucinous tumors was confined to the stroma beneath the epithelial lining.
Conclusion: H19 is expressed in the majority of serous epithelial tumors. Taking into consideration the high percentage of H19 expressing serous ovarian neoplasms we suggest that H19 RNA may be used as an adjuvant tumor marker for the diagnosis and mainly for staging and follow-up of patients with serous ovarian carcinoma.