Cyclin E, coded by the genes CCNE1 and CCNE2, is the main regulator for transition from G1 to S phase determining cell division. CCNE1 and CCNE2 are known oncogenes in many cancer entities. Especially CCNE1 has frequently been associated with gene amplifications in various malignancies, emphasising its role as a putative oncogene. We determined gene expression and copy number of CCNE1 and CCNE2 by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from 172 International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) II/III/IV stage serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) tissues and analysed its impact on outcome. Furthermore, whole transcriptome gene expression changes correlating with CCNE1 expression were determined by microarray technology, interpreted by Signalling Pathway Impact Analysis (SPIA), Tool for Inferring Network of Genes (TINGe), and illustrated by hive plots. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks were also used for the interpretation. Interestingly, and contradictory to most reports and intuitive expectations, high CCNE1 expression correlated with better overall survival (p=0.005) if corrected for usual clinicopathologic parameters and a molecular subclassification. Using different grading systems or only high graded tumours had no impact on this correlation. Copy number of CCNE1 was increased in 25% of cases which correlated highly significantly with expression but showed no impact on outcome. CCNE2 had no impact on outcomes at all. Whole genome transcriptome analysis revealed 1872 differentially expressed genes correlated to CCNE1 expression, which were significantly enriched with genes from five pathways (e.g. cell cycle and viral carcinogenesis pathway were up-regulated and the Fanconi anaemia pathway was down-regulated). High CCNE1 gene expression is a significant and independent predictor for prolonged overall survival in FIGO III/IV EOC patients. This upside down impact of CCNE1 on survival probably reflects the special characteristic of EOC with tumour dissemination in the near anaerobic peritoneal cavity as the predominant cause of death, compared to other cancer entities where distant metastasis are predominantly lethal.
Keywords: CCNE1; Molecular subclass; Ovarian cancer; Prognosis; Proliferation.
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