High insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-2) gene expression is an independent predictor of poor survival for patients with advanced stage serous epithelial ovarian cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2005 Feb;96(2):355-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2004.10.012.


Objective: Epithelial ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic malignancy, yet its molecular etiology remains poorly understood. Evidence is accumulating to support a role for the insulin-like growth factor family in human carcinogenesis, and recently using microarray expression analysis, we demonstrated over-expression of the insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-2) gene in advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancers. The purpose of the current study is to further elucidate the role of the IGF-2 gene in ovarian cancer development and progression.

Methods: Relative expression of IGF-2 was measured in 109 epithelial ovarian cancers and eight normal ovarian surface epithelial (NOSE) samples, using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Associations with clinicopathological parameters were examined.

Results: Expression of the IGF-2 gene was more than 300-fold higher in ovarian cancers compared with normal ovarian surface epithelium samples (P <0.001). High IGF-2 expression was associated with advanced stage disease at diagnosis (P <0.001), high-grade cancers (P <0.05) and sub-optimal surgical cytoreduction (P = 0.08). In multivariate analysis, relative IGF-2 expression was an independent predictor of poor survival.

Conclusions: Expression of the IGF-2 gene is significantly higher in ovarian cancers relative to normal ovarian surface epithelium. Further, high IGF-2 gene expression is associated with high grade, advanced stage disease, and is an independent predictor of poor survival in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. As such, IGF-2 is a molecular marker and potential therapeutic target for the most aggressive epithelial ovarian cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / genetics
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / metabolism*
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / biosynthesis*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Survival Rate


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II