Adult granulosa cell tumours (GCT): clinicopathological outcomes including FOXL2 mutational status and expression

Gynecol Oncol. 2013 Nov;131(2):325-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2013.08.031. Epub 2013 Sep 2.


Objectives: The aim of this research was to use nucleic acids isolated from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue to investigate the diagnostic potential and prognostic significance of FOXL2 in adult-type GCTs, particularly as a marker of identifying early stage patients that are likely to relapse.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of GCT patients referred to the Auckland Gynae-Oncology Multidisciplinary Team from 1955 to 2012. Baseline characteristics, clinical course, histopathology and survival data was recorded. Using nucleic acids extracted from FFPE tumour blocks, FOXL2 mutation status and expression was determined by DNA sequencing and RT-qPCR, respectively, and correlated with clinical data.

Results: 57 adult GCT patients were identified, however FFPE tumour blocks were available for only 37 of these patients. Sequencing results confirmed the presence of the FOXL2 mutation in 70% of patients. FOXL2 mutation positive adult tumours showed a trend towards higher FOXL2 expression than wildtype adult tumours, particularly in stage I patients (p=0.051). In addition, patients with homozygous FOXL2 mutations had a significantly higher relapse rate (p=0.04). There was no significant correlation between FOXL2 mutation status or FOXL2 expression and any other clinical variables.

Conclusions: FFPE tumour blocks are a valuable resource of molecular information, especially when studying rare tumours such as GCTs. The FOXL2 mutation appears to have some diagnostic potential, however additional work in a larger cohort needs to be completed to confirm the prognostic significance of this gene mutation, and its expression.

Keywords: Diagnostic tool; FFPE; FOXL2; Granulosa cell tumour; Prognostic marker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Forkhead Box Protein L2
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Formaldehyde
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor / genetics*
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor / metabolism
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor / pathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Fixation
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • FOXL2 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein L2
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Formaldehyde