Expression of the Ets transcription factor EHF in serous ovarian carcinoma effusions is a marker of poor survival

Kjersti Brenne, Dag André Nymoen, Thea Eline Hetland, Claes G Trope', Ben Davidson
Human Pathology 2012, 43 (4): 496-505
The EHF (Ets homologous factor) gene was previously shown to be overexpressed in ovarian/primary peritoneal serous carcinoma compared to malignant mesothelioma using gene expression arrays. The objective of this study was to validate this finding at the mRNA level in a larger series. We analyzed the diagnostic role of EHF in 98 ovarian serous carcinoma effusions, 23 malignant mesothelioma specimens (20 effusions, 3 surgical specimens), and 28 primary ovarian serous carcinomas using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Expression levels of EHF in ovarian carcinoma were additionally investigated for association with clinicopathologic parameters and survival. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis showed significantly higher expression of EHF mRNA in ovarian carcinoma effusions and in primary ovarian carcinoma compared to malignant mesothelioma effusions (P < .001 for both). EHF mRNA expression was additionally higher in primary ovarian carcinomas compared to effusions of this cancer (P < .001). In univariate analysis for all patients with effusions, higher EHF mRNA levels were associated with a trend for shorter progression-free survival (P = .066), which became significant in analysis of 45 patients with primary diagnosis pre-chemotherapy effusions (P = .01). In Cox multivariate analysis, EHF mRNA expression was an independent predictor of poor progression-free survival for all patients and patients with primary diagnosis pre-chemotherapy effusions (P = .033 and P = .009, respectively). EHF mRNA levels differentiate ovarian carcinoma from malignant mesothelioma and may thus be of diagnostic value in this setting. EHF may be a novel prognostic marker in ovarian carcinoma.

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