Background: As CDK-16 has been shown to be upregulated in several transformed cancer lines, we hypothesized that the cyclin-dependent kinase 16 (CDK-16) may be upregulated in serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cells. Therefore, we comparatively examined the mRNA and protein expression of CDK-16 in samples resected from serous EOC patients and normal controls.
Material and methods: Tissue samples were collected from 70 serous EOC patients and 40 normal controls. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was conducted to assess mRNA expression. CDK-16 protein expression was assessed by semi-quantitative immunohistochemical staining. Differences in mRNA and protein expression between serous EOC cells and normal tissue cells were tested with the Kruskal-Wallis test and analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Results: Both CDK-16 mRNA and protein expression were significantly higher in serous EOC tumor cells as compared to normal control ovarian cells (p<0.01). Although there was no significant correlation between CDK-16 mRNA expression and serous EOC stage (p=0.0794), there was a significant correlation between CDK-16 mRNA expression and serous EOC grade (p<0.0001). Moreover, there were significant correlations between CDK-16 protein expression and serous EOC stage (p<0.0001) and grade (p<0.0001).
Conclusions: CDK-16 upregulation in serous EOC cells may represent a negative feedback loop to promote ovarian cell differentiation in malignantly-transformed serous EOC cells. Further in-depth investigation on CDK-16's role in serous EOC is needed.