Gene Expression Profiling Reveals Differentially Expressed Genes in Ovarian Cancer of the Hen: Support for Oviductal Origin?

Horm Cancer. 2010 Aug;1(4):177-86. doi: 10.1007/s12672-010-0024-8.


Ovarian cancer has a high mortality rate due, in part, to the lack of early detection and incomplete understanding of the origin of the disease. The hen is the only spontaneous model of ovarian cancer and can therefore aid in the identification and testing of early detection strategies and therapeutics. Our aim was to combine the use of the hen animal model and microarray technology to identify differentially expressed genes in ovarian tissue from normal hens compared with hens with ovarian cancer. We found that the transcripts up-regulated in chicken ovarian tumors were enriched for oviduct-related genes. Quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry confirmed expression of oviduct-related genes in normal oviduct and in ovaries from hens with early- and late-stage ovarian tumors, but not in normal ovarian surface epithelium. In addition, one of the oviduct-related genes identified in our analysis, paired box 2 has been implicated in human ovarian cancer and may serve as a marker of the disease. Furthermore, estrogen receptor 1 mRNA is over-expressed in early-stage tumors, suggesting that expression of the oviduct-related genes may be regulated by estrogen. We have also identified oviduct-related genes that encode secreted proteins that could represent putative serum biomarkers. The expression of oviduct-related genes in early-stage tumors is similar to what is seen in human ovarian cancer, with tumors resembling normal Müllerian epithelium. These data suggest that chicken ovarian tumors may arise from alternative sites, including the oviduct.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avian Proteins / genetics
  • Avian Proteins / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / genetics
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oviducts / metabolism
  • Oviducts / pathology
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Avian Proteins
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE21706