Objective: Our purpose was to determine whether basic fibroblast growth factor is present in, and synthesized by, human ovarian epithelial neoplasms and to evaluate the expression of gene for the basic fibroblast growth factor receptor.
Study design: The synthesis of basic fibroblast growth factor and its receptor was investigated in seven primary human ovarian epithelial neoplasms. Neoplastic tissues were homogenized and the cytoplasmic extracts purified by heparin-sepharose chromatography with a linear salt gradient of 0.6 to 3 mol/L sodium chloride in Tris-hydrochloric acid. The in situ synthesis of basic fibroblast growth factor and its receptor was demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction. Total ribonucleic acid was reverse transcribed and then amplified with two oligonucleotide primers specific for the bovine and human basic fibroblast growth factor gene and its human receptor gene.
Results: As assessed by both bioassay and radioimmunoassay a peak of basic fibroblast growth factor-like activity was present in all tumors in the chromatographic fractions eluted with 3 mol/L sodium chloride. The mitogenic effect on bovine adrenocortical endothelial cell proliferation varied from 35% to 153% above control cultures. Levels of basic fibroblast growth factor-like immunoreactivity were between 4 and 33 ng/ml. Qualitatively similar results were obtained after purifying the cytoplasmic extract of dispersed human ovarian tumor cells. The mitogenic effect was completely abolished by a specific neutralizing anti-basic fibroblast growth factor antibody. Single major deoxyribonucleic acid bands of the expected size (354 and 661 bp) were detected in all tumors studied. The identify of this material with the human basic fibroblast growth factor sequence was confirmed by restriction enzyme analysis.
Conclusion: These data demonstrate that both basic fibroblast growth factor and its receptor are present in and synthesized by human ovarian tumor cells. Thus basic fibroblast growth factor might stimulate their abnormal proliferation through an autocrine mechanism.