The objective of this study was to analyze the clinical role of nestin, a stem cell marker, and class III β-tubulin in advanced-stage serous ovarian carcinoma. Nestin and class III β-tubulin protein expression were investigated in 217 effusions using immunohistochemistry. Results were analyzed for association with clinicopathologic parameters including chemotherapy response and survival. Class III β-tubulin and nestin were expressed in tumor cells in 98.6% and 95.6% of specimens, respectively. Staining extent was comparable in prechemotherapy and postchemotherapy effusions. No association was found with patient age, histologic grade, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage, primary surgery versus secondary debulking, or residual disease volume. High class III β-tubulin expression in prechemotherapy effusions was significantly associated with primary chemoresistance (progression-free survival <6 months; P = .036) and with a trend for less favorable response to first-line treatment (P = .054). In univariate survival analysis, high class III β-tubulin expression in prechemotherapy effusions was significantly associated with poor overall survival (P = .021), with a trend for poor progression-free survival (P = .067). These associations did not have independent prognostic value in Cox multivariate analysis. Nestin expression was unrelated to chemoresistance or survival. Both class III β-tubulin and nestin are frequently expressed in serous ovarian carcinoma cells in effusions. Nestin does not provide predictive or prognostic data in this patient group, whereas class III β-tubulin expression in prechemotherapy effusions is associated with poor chemoresponse and shorter survival, suggesting that it may be a therapeutic target in ovarian cancer.
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