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BMC Cancer

, 9:221

First Online: 07 July 2009Received: 28 February 2009Accepted: 07 July 2009DOI: 10.1186-1471-2407-9-221

Cite this article as: Ferrandina, G., Martinelli, E., Petrillo, M. et al. BMC Cancer 2009 9: 221. doi:10.1186-1471-2407-9-221


BackgroundMuch attention has been recently focused on the role of cancer stem cells CSCs in the initiation and progression of solid malignancies. Since CSCs are able to proliferate and self-renew extensively, thus sustaining tumor growth, the identification of CSCs through their antigenic profile might have relevant clinical implications. In this context, CD133 antigen has proved to be a marker of tumor cells with stemness features in several human malignancies.

The aim of the study was to investigate the clinical role of the immunohistochemically assessed expression of CD133 in a large single Institution series of ovarian cancer patients.

MethodsThe study included 160 cases admitted to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit, Catholic University of Campobasso and Rome. CD133 antigen was identified by the monoclonal mouse anti-CD133-1 antibody clone CD133 Miltenyi biotec.

ResultsIn the overall series CD133 positive tumor cells were observed in 50-160 31.2% cases. A diffuse cytoplasmic pattern was identified in 30-50 60.0%, while an apical cytoplasmic pattern was found in 20-50 40.0% of CD133 positive tumors.

As of September 2008, the median follow up was 37 months range: 2–112. During the follow up period, progression and death of disease were observed in 123 76.9%, and 88 55.0% cases, respectively. There was no difference in TTP between cases with negative median TTP = 23 months versus positive CD133 expression median TTP = 24 months p value = 0.3. Similar results were obtained for OS. When considering the TTP and OS curves according to the pattern of CD133 expression, a trend to a worse prognosis for cases with diffuse cytoplasmic versus the apical cytoplasmic pattern was documented, although the statistical significance was not reached.

ConclusionThe immunohistochemical assessment of CD133 expression seems not to provide additional prognostic information in ovarian cancer patients. The role of the different pattern of CD133 immunoreaction deserves further investigation in a larger series.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2407-9-221 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Gabriella Ferrandina - Enrica Martinelli - Marco Petrillo - Maria Grazia Prisco - Gianfranco Zannoni - Stefano Sioletic - G


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