Expression and clinical role of antiapoptotic proteins of the bag, heat shock, and Bcl-2 families in effusions, primary tumors, and solid metastases in ovarian carcinoma

Mari Bunkholt Elstrand, Lilach Kleinberg, Elise C Kohn, Claes G Tropé, Ben Davidson
International Journal of Gynecological Pathology 2009, 28 (3): 211-21
Cancer progression is associated with reduced apoptosis and increased proliferation. We hypothesized that upregulation of the Bag family of survival cochaperones and its molecular partners of the Bcl-2 and heat shock protein (HSP) families would correlate with disease progression and survival in ovarian cancer. Bag-1, Bag-4, HSP27, HSP70, Bcl-2, and Bcl-X(L) expression was immunohistochemically analyzed in effusions (188) and patient-matched solid tumors (43 primary carcinomas, 81 solid metastases). Results were analyzed for anatomic site-related differences, and association with clinicopathologic parameters and survival. Bag-1, Bag-4, and HSP70 were detected in the tumor cell nuclei and cytoplasm, whereas HSP27, Bcl-2, and Bcl-X(L) had exclusively cytoplasmic localization. Antiapoptotic protein expression in effusions differed significantly from primary tumors and metastases. Cytoplasmic Bag-1 (P=0.002), nuclear and cytoplasmic HSP70 (P<0.001), and Bcl-2 (P=0.001) expression was higher in primary carcinomas and solid metastases compared with effusions, whereas Bcl-X(L) (P=0.01), nuclear Bag-1 (P<0.001), nuclear Bag-4 (P=0.01), and cytoplasmic Bag-4 (P=0.002) were upregulated in effusions. Bcl-X(L) expression was associated with poor response to chemotherapy at diagnosis (P=0.02) and HSP27 expression was associated with high-grade tumors (P=0.01). Increased cytoplasmic HSP70 staining in effusions correlated with poor overall survival for the entire cohort (P=0.01). In primary carcinomas, higher Bcl-2 expression correlated with worse overall (P=0.04) and progression-free (P=0.02) survival. Antiapoptotic proteins are differentially expressed in effusions compared with solid tumors, whereas primary carcinomas and solid metastases have comparable expression patterns. HSP70 expression in effusions may be a prognostic marker of poor survival, with a similar role for Bcl-2 in primary carcinomas.

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