A systematic review and meta-analysis of hormone receptor expression in low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2021 Jan:256:172-178. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.11.021. Epub 2020 Nov 12.


Objective: Serous ovarian carcinoma is the most common histological type of ovarian cancer, with high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) being more common than low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (LGSOC). Despite pathogenic and clinical differences, both grades of serous ovarian carcinoma share the propensity to express receptors for the female hormones - oestrogen (ERs) and progesterone receptors (PRs) - albeit in differing frequencies.

Study design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reporting the expression of hormone receptors in LGSOC, and comparison with expression in HGSOC.

Results: Expression of ERs is observed in 80.7 % of patients with LGSOC [95 % confidence interval (CI) 72.2-89.1 %] and 61.5 % of patients with HGSOC (95 % CI 38.8-84.1 %). Expression of PRs is observed in 54.4 % of patients with LGSOC (95 % CI 44.3-64.4 %) and 30.7 % of patients with HGSOC (95 % CI 15.7-45.7 %).

Conclusion: A higher percentage of LGSOCs are positive for ER expression compared with HGSOCs. Similarly, a higher percentage of LGSOCs are positive for PR expression, although PR expression is lower than ER expression. Expression of hormone receptors may represent a therapeutic opportunity for treatment with agents that block their activity, especially in LGSOC which is less responsive to chemotherapy and therapeutic options are limited.

Keywords: Hormone receptors; Low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma; Oestrogen receptor; Progesterone receptor; Type I serous ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous*
  • Female
  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms*


  • Hormones