Objectives: Forty percent of women with ovarian carcinoma have circulating free neoplastic DNA identified in plasma. Angiogenesis is critical in neoplastic growth and metastasis. We sought to determine whether circulating neoplastic DNA results from alterations in the balance of angiogenesis activators and inhibitors.
Methods: Sixty patients with invasive ovarian carcinomas with somatic TP53 mutations that had been characterized for circulating neoplastic DNA had carcinoma analyzed for microvessel density using immunohistochemistry with CD31 and for the expression of VEGF, ANGPT1, ANGPT2, PTGS2, PLAU, THBS1, CSF1, PIK3CA, HIF1A, IL8, MMP2, and MMP9 message by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The expression of each gene was calculated relative to GAPDH expression for each neoplasm. Patient plasma had been tested for circulating neoplastic DNA using a ligase detection reaction.
Results: MMP2 expression was significantly correlated with free plasma neoplastic DNA (P = .007). Microvessel density was not correlated with plasma neoplastic DNA or BRCA1/2 mutation status. The expression pattern of other angiogenic factors did not correlate with plasma neoplastic DNA but correlated with each other. BRCA1/2 mutated carcinomas had significantly different expression profiles of angiogenesis activators and inhibitors in comparison to sporadic carcinomas.
Conclusions: MMP2 expression is associated with the presence of circulating neoplastic DNA in women with ovarian carcinoma. These data are consistent with the proinvasive properties of MMP2 and suggest that the presence of circulating neoplastic DNA indicates a more aggressive malignant phenotype. Carcinomas with germ line BRCA1/2 mutations had a lower angiogenic profile than those without mutations.