Background: Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a tyrosine kinase that is important to such key functions such as cell adhesion, motility, and invasion. A MEDLINE search of the years 1980-1998 found no previous reports of FAK expression in human ovarian carcinoma. The authors performed experiments to determine whether FAK expression is elevated in this disease.
Methods: Ten normal human ovarian tissue samples and 26 cancer samples from patients with Stage I-IV ovarian carcinoma were obtained. Two ovarian carcinoma cell lines were also analyzed. FAK expression was determined by Western blot analysis with the V39 anti-human FAK polyclonal antibody. The level of FAK protein expression was determined using densitometric scanning of the 125 kD band on autoradiographs of Western immunoblots.
Results: Serous cancers expressed fourfold-increased values of FAK relative to normal ovarian tissue (P < 0.0001), and nonserous adenocarcinomas expressed threefold- to fourfold-increased values of FAK (P < 0. 0006). Ovarian carcinoma cell lines also expressed increased values of FAK. With a cutoff of 40, an elevated FAK level was associated with a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 100%. There was no significant difference in FAK expression with regard to grade or stage of tumor.
Conclusions: FAK is significantly overexpressed in ovarian carcinoma, implying that FAK may play an important role in ovarian carcinogenesis. FAK expression may be useful as a screening tool to identify newly developed disease or as a tumor marker in confirmed cases of epithelial ovarian carcinoma. FAK may also serve as a potential target for therapeutic disruption of ovarian carcinoma progression.
Copyright 1999 American Cancer Society.