Objectives: To examine the expressions of the protein and mRNA of EPHA2 and EphrinA-1 in epithelial ovarian carcinomas/ovarian cancer cell lines and explore their prognostic value.
Methods: To validate the immunohistochemical method, two ovarian cancer cell lines (OVCAR3 and SKOV3) were examined with RT-PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry for EphA2 and EphrinA-1 expressions. Tumors from 118 patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer were then evaluated for EPHA2 and Ephrin A-1 protein expression, and frozen tissues from 30 cases were used for laser capture microdissection (LCM) assistant RT-PCR RNA analysis.
Results: 11 (9.3%), 67 (56.8%), 26 (22.0%), and 14 (11.9%) tumors demonstrated negative, weak, moderate, and strong EphA2 protein expressions, respectively, while 3 (2.5%), 67 (56.8%), 32 (27.1%), and 16 (13.8%) tumors were negative, weak, moderate, and strong for Ephrin A-1 protein expression, respectively. Variable amount of mRNA expression was observed in the 30 tumors analyzed by the method of LCM assistant RT-PCR. There was a trend for association between higher levels of either EphA2 or Ephrin A-1 expression and higher histological grade (P = 0.05 for both factors). No significant correlation between the expressions of EphA2 or Ephrin A-1 and age, histological type, and FIGO stage was observed. Patients with higher levels of EphA2 protein expressions had significantly shorter survival. Cox multivariate analyses revealed that residual tumor after surgery, histological type, and EphA2 protein expression were of independent prognostic significance.
Conclusions: High level of EphA2 protein expression is significantly associated with a shorter patient survival and EphA2 receptor is a valuable prognostic marker for ovarian carcinoma.