Trop-2 overexpression as an independent marker for poor overall survival in ovarian carcinoma patients

Eur J Cancer. 2010 Mar;46(5):944-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2009.12.019. Epub 2010 Jan 8.


Background: Prognostic factors currently available are insufficient to predict the clinical course of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). In a previous microarray study we identified the human trophoblast cell surface antigen Trop-2 as one of the top differentially expressed genes in serous papillary EOCs compared to normal human ovarian surface epithelial (HOSE) short-term cultures. The aim of the present investigation was to analyse Trop-2 expression at mRNA and protein level and to assess its prognostic significance in EOC.

Methods: Using quantitative real-time PCR we tested a total of 104 fresh-frozen EOC tissues and 24 HOSE for Trop-2 mRNA expression. Trop-2 protein expression was then examined by immunohistochemistry in matched formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded EOC samples and in 13 normal ovaries. Finally, we correlated Trop-2 expression to EOC conventional clinicopathological features and patient outcomes.

Results: We found a significant Trop-2 mRNA and protein upregulation in EOCs compared to normal controls (p<0.001). Trop-2 protein overexpression was significantly associated with the presence of ascites (p=0.04) and lymph node metastases (p=0.04). By univariate survival analysis, Trop-2 protein overexpression was significantly associated with decreased progression-free (p=0.02) and overall survival (p=0.01). Importantly, Trop-2 protein overexpression was an independent prognostic marker for shortened survival time in multivariate Cox regression analysis (p=0.04, HR=2.35, CI(95%)=1.03-5.34).

Conclusions: Our results indicate, for the first time, that Trop-2 protein overexpression correlates with an aggressive malignant phenotype and may constitute a novel prognostic factor for EOC. The targeting of Trop-2 overexpression by immunotherapeutic strategies may represent an attractive and potentially effective approach in patients harbouring EOC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / biosynthesis*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / biosynthesis*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • TACSTD2 protein, human