Comparative immunohistochemical studies of bcl-2 and p53 proteins in benign and malignant ovarian endometriotic cysts

Cancer. 2002 Jun 1;94(11):2935-40. doi: 10.1002/cncr.10566.


Background: A number of histologic and epidemiologic studies have suggested an association between endometriosis and ovarian carcinoma. Some reports have described a transition from endometriosis to atypical endometriosis to carcinoma. Using immunohistochemistry, the authors compared staining patterns in benign endometriotic cysts with ovarian tumors and the endometriotic cyst lining from which they arose, in an attempt to identify sequential or etiologic correlations.

Methods: One hundred thirteen formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections were studied (30 benign ovarian endometriotic cysts, 24 endometriotic cysts containing endometrioid carcinomas, 19 endometriotic cysts harboring clear cell carcinomas, and 40 ovarian papillary serous cystadenocarcinomas). All sections were immunostained with anti-bcl-2 and anti-p53 antibodies using the streptavidin-biotin method.

Results: bcl-2 was reported to stain 23% of benign endometriotic cysts, 67% of endometrioid carcinomas, 73% of clear cell carcinomas, and 50% of papillary serous carcinomas. Approximately 42% of benign endometriotic lesions adjacent to the endometrioid carcinoma and 73% adjacent to clear cell carcinomas were found to stain for bcl-2 (p = 0.274 [not significant (NS)] and P = 0.008, respectively). p53 staining was negative in the benign endometriotic cyst group and was positive in 37-55% of the group with tumors. p53 staining was positive in 25% of the benign endometriotic lesions next to the endometrioid carcinoma and in 9% of the benign endometriotic lesions next to clear cell carcinoma (P = 0.014 and P = 0.239 [NS], respectively).

Conclusions: The results of the current study suggest that alterations in bcl-2 and p53 may be associated with the malignant transformation of endometriotic cysts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Papillary / metabolism
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Endometriosis / complications
  • Endometriosis / metabolism*
  • Endometriosis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Ovarian Cysts / complications
  • Ovarian Cysts / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Cysts / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53