Overexpression of CD73 in epithelial ovarian carcinoma is associated with better prognosis, lower stage, better differentiation and lower regulatory T cell infiltration

J Gynecol Oncol. 2012 Oct;23(4):274-81. doi: 10.3802/jgo.2012.23.4.274. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


Objective: The purpose of the current study was to evaluate survival outcome according to the expression status of CD73 in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.

Methods: A total of 167 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer were enrolled in the current study. For each patient, a retrospective review of medical records was conducted. Immunohistochemical staining for CD73, CD8, FoxP3, and CD68 was performed using tissue microarray made with paraffin embedded tissue block.

Results: Among the enrolled patients, 29.9% of patients (n=50) showed negative expression for CD73, whereas 70.1% of patients (n=117) showed positive expression for CD73. The CD73 positive group showed better prognosis compared to the CD73 negative group (5-year overall survival of CD73 positive group, 73.0%; that of CD73 negative group, 50.1%; p=0.023). CD73 was more frequently expressed in mucinous adenocarcinoma and clear cell carcinoma compared to serous or endometrioid adenocarcinoma. In addition, CD73 overexpressions were more frequently detected in patients with known good prognostic factors, i.e., low stage, well/moderate differentiation, negative peritoneal cytology, no lymphovascular involvement, and no macroscopic residual tumor after debulking surgery. There was significantly more infiltration of regulatory T cells in the CD73 negative group compared to the CD73 positive group.

Conclusion: Good prognosis in patients with overexpression of CD73 may be due to that overexpression of CD73 was more frequently observed in epithelial ovarian cancer patients with known good prognostic factors. Therefore, this result means that favorable differentiation and stage have more influence on survival outcome than adverse effect of CD73 per se.

Keywords: CD73; Carcinoma; Ecto-5'-nucleotidase; Ovarian neoplasms; Survival.