Gene-Expression Profiling of Mucinous Ovarian Tumors and Comparison with Upper and Lower Gastrointestinal Tumors Identifies Markers Associated with Adverse Outcomes

Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Dec 15;28(24):5383-5395. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-22-1206.


Purpose: Advanced-stage mucinous ovarian carcinoma (MOC) has poor chemotherapy response and prognosis and lacks biomarkers to aid stage I adjuvant treatment. Differentiating primary MOC from gastrointestinal (GI) metastases to the ovary is also challenging due to phenotypic similarities. Clinicopathologic and gene-expression data were analyzed to identify prognostic and diagnostic features.

Experimental design: Discovery analyses selected 19 genes with prognostic/diagnostic potential. Validation was performed through the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis consortium and GI cancer biobanks comprising 604 patients with MOC (n = 333), mucinous borderline ovarian tumors (MBOT, n = 151), and upper GI (n = 65) and lower GI tumors (n = 55).

Results: Infiltrative pattern of invasion was associated with decreased overall survival (OS) within 2 years from diagnosis, compared with expansile pattern in stage I MOC [hazard ratio (HR), 2.77; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.04-7.41, P = 0.042]. Increased expression of THBS2 and TAGLN was associated with shorter OS in MOC patients (HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.04-1.51, P = 0.016) and (HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.01-1.45, P = 0.043), respectively. ERBB2 (HER2) amplification or high mRNA expression was evident in 64 of 243 (26%) of MOCs, but only 8 of 243 (3%) were also infiltrative (4/39, 10%) or stage III/IV (4/31, 13%).

Conclusions: An infiltrative growth pattern infers poor prognosis within 2 years from diagnosis and may help select stage I patients for adjuvant therapy. High expression of THBS2 and TAGLN in MOC confers an adverse prognosis and is upregulated in the infiltrative subtype, which warrants further investigation. Anti-HER2 therapy should be investigated in a subset of patients. MOC samples clustered with upper GI, yet markers to differentiate these entities remain elusive, suggesting similar underlying biology and shared treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous* / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / pathology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Prognosis