Clinicopathological study of metallothionein immunohistochemical expression, in benign, borderline and malignant ovarian epithelial tumors
Stefanou, D. G.
Briassoulis, E. Ch
Agnantis, Niki J.
SourceHistology and histopathology
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Metallothioneins (MTs) are a family of cystein-rich metal-binding proteins, which are expressed in normal cells during fetal and postnatal life but also in a variety of human neoplasms. MT expression in human tumors has been linked to resistance to anticancer drugs and differentiation and progression in some types of tumors. This study examined the immunohistochemical expression of MTs in benign, borderline and malignant tumors of ovarian surface epithelium and the possible correlations with clinicopathological parameters and survival. A total of 87 cases with diagnosis of ovarian surface epithelial tumors were included. Specifically, 21 cases of benign cystadenomas (11 serous and 10 mucinous), 14 borderline (low malignant potential tumors, 8 mucinous and 6 serous) and 52 cases of ovarian cancer were analysed. Immunohistochemical expression of MT (cut-off level >10% of tumor cells) was clearly associated with malignancy. A statistically significant correlation was found between the expression of MT in cancer cases and benign tumors (p<0.0001) and cancer cases and borderline tumors p= 0.003. In cancer cases a difference was observed between grade I and III (p=0.002). There was no correlation of MT overexpression with survival in the small number of ovarian carcinoma patients where it was analysed. MT constitutes a marker that characterizes aggressiveness and a high malignant potential in ovarian epithelial tumors. In diagnostic problems MT may help distinguish between benign, borderline and malignant tumors.
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