The family of insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins (IGFBPs) comprises six members, which bind and regulate the functions of insulin-like growth factors. Overexpression of IGFBP2 and IGFBP5 contributes to the invasiveness and progression of several human cancers, but their role and clinical significance in ovarian cancer has not been investigated in detail. We examined IGFBP2 and IGFBP5 expression levels using two tissue microarrays, one containing six normal surface epithelium, six benign serous cysts, 10 serous borderline tumors, eight low-grade, and 20 high-grade serous carcinomas. The other comprising 441 ovarian cancers of different histologic types linked to a clinicopathologic database. Each tumor was sampled in duplicate with a 1.0-mm punch core needle. Immunohistochemical staining was performed using antibodies against IGFBP2 or IGFBP5. The staining intensity was scored semiquantitatively as negative (0), weak (1-10%), moderate (10-50%), or strong (50-100%) using computerized image analysis. Statistical analyses used Fisher's exact test and Kaplan-Meier method. IGFBP2 and IGFBP5 were overexpressed in high-grade serous carcinomas compared to normal surface epithelium, benign serous cysts, serous borderline tumors, or low-grade serous carcinoma. They were differentially expressed in different types of ovarian carcinomas, being more often expressed at high levels in high-grade serous carcinoma, malignant mixed mullerian tumors and undifferentiated carcinoma, and more often expressed at low levels or not at all in clear cell and mucinous carcinomas. We concluded that IGFBP2 and IGFBP5 might play a role in the development of high-grade ovarian serous carcinoma, but not in mucinous or clear cell ovarian carcinomas.
Published online 26 May 2006.