Monoallelic expression of the insulin-like growth factor-2 gene in ovarian cancer

Am J Pathol. 1996 Apr;148(4):1081-7.


Genomic imprinting is defined as a gamete-specific modification causing differential expression of the two alleles of a gene in somatic cells and is becoming increasingly recognized as playing an important role in a number of human diseases including cancer. We have reported that the loss of the insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF2) gene imprinting results in the deregulation of both IGF2 alleles, which may contribute to the onset of Wilms tumor. It is important to see whether such abnormal genomic imprinting is implicated in the etiology of common adulthood cancers. In the present study we have examined the expression level and imprinting status of the IGF2 gene in human ovaries and ovarian cancers. We confirm that IGF2 is significantly expressed in ovaries and ovarian cancers. In normal ovaries, both surface epithelium and the ovary proper demonstrate monoallelic IGF2 expression. Among 27 tumors, all 11 heterozygous for the IGF2 locus show monoallelic IGF2 expression (2 of them are proven to be from the paternal allele). The data suggest that the increased IGF2 gene expression in ovarian cancer may be achieved by a mechanism other than loss of imprinting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / biosynthesis
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovary / metabolism


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II