Gene amplification and protein overexpression of MET are common events in ovarian clear-cell adenocarcinoma: their roles in tumor progression and prognostication of the patient

Mod Pathol. 2011 Aug;24(8):1146-55. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2011.70. Epub 2011 Apr 8.


The aim of this study was to assess protein overexpression and gene copy number alterations of MET in ovarian clear-cell adenocarcinoma, and to assess its potential as a novel therapeutic target. Ninety cases of clear-cell adenocarcinoma were analyzed for MET protein overexpression and copy number alterations of the MET gene by immunohistochemistry and brightfield double in situ hybridization, respectively. In addition, 101 cases of the non-clear-cell type ovarian carcinomas at advanced stages were also evaluated for comparison. MET overexpression was assigned when complete membrane staining with moderate or strong intensity was observed in at least 10% of the tumor cells examined. Double in situ hybridization was determined as positive when the tumor exhibited high-level polysomy (≥4 copies in ≥40% of tumor cells) or MET gene amplification. MET overexpression was detected in 20 of 90 clear-cell adenocarcinomas (22%) and none of 111 non-clear-cell type ovarian carcinomas. Double in situ hybridization was positive in 21 of 89 informative clear-cell adenocarcinomas (24%) and only 3 non-clear-cell type ovarian carcinomas (3%). In the whole population, true amplification of the MET gene was detected only in the clear-cell adenocarcinoma histology (five cases, 6%). In clear-cell adenocarcinomas, double in situ hybridization positivity was highly correlated with the presence of MET overexpression and a poorly differentiated histology of tumors (P=0.0105 and 0.00038, respectively). For the patients with clear-cell adenocarcinomas, MET overexpression, as well as advanced clinical stage and the poorly differentiated histology of tumors, was identified as an independent unfavorable prognostic factor for overall survival. In conclusion, among ovarian carcinomas, the amplification of the MET proto-oncogene is highly selective and commonly occurs in clear-cell adenocarcinoma. MET could serve as a biomarker for the prognostication of patients with clear-cell adenocarcinoma and tumor progression, and has potential as a novel therapeutic target for this carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Dosage
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / biosynthesis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / genetics
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Up-Regulation


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MET protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met