Differential expression of p73 splice variants and protein in benign and malignant ovarian tumours

Int J Cancer. 2000 Oct 1;88(1):66-70.


The p73 gene encodes a protein with substantial structural and functional similarities to the tumour-suppressor p53. Alternative splicing of p73 mRNA leads to expression of 6 known RNA species and proteins (alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta). We analysed the expression of these splice variants in ovarian adenocarcinoma by RT-PCR followed by detection of amplicons with the Southern technique and by immunoblot in 32 malignant and benign epithelial ovarian tumour specimens and 3 ovarian adenocarcinoma cell lines (A2780, 2008, OVCAR-3). p73alpha mRNA was expressed in all 17 ovarian cancer specimens, and 14 of 17 expressed at least 3 splice variants. In contrast, a different expression pattern was present in the ovarian adenomas: p73alpha was detected in 6 of 12 benign tumours, and only 1 adenoma expressed 3 splice variants. p73 protein was expressed in 9 of 16 ovarian cancer specimens, in all cell lines and in 1 of 3 borderline tumours. In contrast, none of 9 ovarian adenomas expressed detectable amounts of p73 protein. Expression of p73 mRNA and protein was not correlated with FIGO stage and histological grade, but we observed a significant correlation with over-expression of p53 protein. In summary, epithelial ovarian cancers express a more complex p73 isoform pattern and higher levels of p73 mRNA and protein than ovarian adenomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alternative Splicing*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Protein p73
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Messenger
  • TP73 protein, human
  • Tumor Protein p73
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins