Analysis of DNA copy number alterations in ovarian serous tumors identifies new molecular genetic changes in low-grade and high-grade carcinomas

Cancer Res. 2009 May 1;69(9):4036-42. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3913. Epub 2009 Apr 21.


Ovarian serous carcinoma, the most common and lethal type of ovarian cancer, is thought to develop from two distinct molecular pathways. High-grade (HG) serous carcinomas contain frequent TP53 mutations, whereas low-grade (LG) carcinomas arise from serous borderline tumors (SBT) and harbor mutations in KRAS/BRAF/ERBB2 pathway. However, the molecular alterations involved in the progression from SBT to LG carcinoma remain unknown. In addition, the extent of deletion of tumor suppressors in ovarian serous carcinomas has not been well studied. To further address these two issues, we assessed DNA copy number changes among affinity-purified tumor cells from 37 ovarian serous neoplasms including SBT, LG, and HG tumors using high-density 250K single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. Chromosomal instability index as measured by changes in DNA copy number was significantly higher in HG than in LG serous carcinomas. Hemizygous ch1p36 deletion was common in LG serous carcinomas but was rarely seen in SBT. This region contains several candidate tumor suppressors including miR-34a. In contrast, in HG serous carcinomas, significant numbers of amplifications and deletions, including homozygous deletions, were identified. Among homozygous deletions, loci containing Rb1, CDKN2A/B, CSMD1, and DOCK4 were most common, being present in 10.6%, 6.4%, 6.4%, and 4.3%, respectively, in independent 47 affinity-purified HG serous carcinomas. Except for the CDKN2A/B region, these homozygous deletions were not present in either SBT or LG tumors. Our study provides a genome-wide homozygous deletion profile in HG serous carcinomas, which can serve as a molecular foundation to study tumor suppressors in ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomal Instability
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 1
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / genetics*
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide


  • MIRN34 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs