E-Cadherin complex protein expression and survival in ovarian carcinoma

Gynecol Oncol. 2000 Dec;79(3):362-71. doi: 10.1006/gyno.2000.5964.


Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the correlation between expression of E-cadherin complex proteins, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and c-erbB-2 and disease outcome in advanced-stage ovarian carcinomas.

Methods: Sections from 75 primary ovarian carcinomas (=37) and metastatic lesions (=38) from 45 patients diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian carcinoma (FIGO stage III-IV) were immunostained and evaluated for staining pattern, extent, and intensity. Patients were divided in two groups based on disease outcome. Long-term survivors (21 patients) and short-term survivors (24 patients) were defined using a double cutoff of 36 months for disease-free survival (DFS) and 60 months for overall survival (OS). Mean follow-up period was 70 months. The mean values for DFS and OS were 109 and 125 months for long-term survivors, as compared to 3 and 21 months for short-term survivors, respectively.

Results: Comparison of all primary and metastatic lesions showed upregulation of gamma-catenin protein expression in the latter (P = 0.05). When segregated according to disease outcome, the expression of all studied proteins, with the exception of EGFR, was more diffuse in tumors of short-term survivors. The presence of cytoplasmic staining for c-erbB-2 was associated with poor survival in the entire cohort (P = 0.007), as well as in primary tumors alone (P = 0.003), in survival analysis. Similar results were seen in the evaluation of primary tumors for gamma-catenin (P = 0.002).

Conclusions: gamma-Catenin, and possibly c-erbB-2, are valid markers of poor survival in advanced-stage ovarian carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis*
  • Cadherins / biosynthesis*
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • ErbB Receptors / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / biosynthesis
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cadherins
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2