High-grade fimbrial-ovarian carcinomas are unified by altered p53, PTEN and PAX2 expression

Mod Pathol. 2010 Oct;23(10):1316-24. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2010.119. Epub 2010 Jun 18.


High-grade endometrioid and serous carcinomas of the ovary and fallopian tube are responsible for the majority of cancer deaths and comprise a spectrum that includes early or localized (tubal intraepithelial carcinoma) and advanced (invasive or metastatic) disease. We subdivided a series of these tumors into three groups, (1) classic serous, (2) mixed serous and endometrioid and (3) endometrioid carcinomas and determined: (1) the frequencies of coexisting tubal intraepithelial carcinoma, (2) frequency of a dominant ovarian mass suggesting an ovarian origin and (3) immuno-localization of WT-1, p53, PTEN, PAX2 and p16(ink4). All tumors were analyzed for p53 mutations. Thirty six, 25 and 8% of groups 1-3 were associated with tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (P=0.09) and 34, 45 and 62% predominated in one ovary (P=0.028), respectively. Differences in frequencies of diffuse p53 immunostaining (85-93%), WT-1 (70-98%) and p16(ink4) positivity (69-75%) were not significant for all groups. Greater than 95% reduction in PAX2 and PTEN occurred in 67-75 and 5-12%, respectively; however, PAX2 and PTEN staining intensity, when present, was often heterogeneous, highlighting different tumor populations. PAX2 and PTEN expression were markedly reduced or absent in 12 of 12 and 4 of 12 tubal intraepithelial carcinomas. In summary, high-grade müllerian carcinomas share identical frequencies of altered or reduced expression of p53, PTEN and PAX2, all of which can be appreciated in tubal intraepithelial carcinomas. Because only a subset of these tumors appears to arise in the fallopian tube, attention to expression of these biomarkers in the ovary and other müllerian sites might facilitate the identification of other carcinogenic pathways. PAX2 and PTEN, in addition to p53 and p16(ink4), comprise a potentially important gene combination in high-grade pelvic carcinogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / genetics
  • Carcinoma in Situ / metabolism
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology*
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / genetics
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / metabolism
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / pathology*
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / genetics
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Genes, p16
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor / biosynthesis
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / biosynthesis
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor
  • PAX2 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human