Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate molecular portraits of heterogeneity related to cancer stem cells (CSCs) in human ovarian cancer and to access the value in diagnosis and treatment.
Methods: Sixty specimens were collected in both cytoreductive and re-cytoreductive surgeries of 20 serous papillary ovarian adenocarcinoma cases. Expression density and distribution of 3 CSC markers (CD44, CD133, and CD117) and 3 stemness proteins (Bmi1, Nestin, and Oct3/4) were analyzed by immunohistochemical staining. Pairwise comparisons were performed among their expression in primary, metastasis, and relapsing tumors.
Results: Some molecules presented different localization in 1 tissue, like CD133 and CD117, and all but Oct3/4 expressed differentially in different specimens of 1 case. Compared to primary or metastatic cancers, recurrent cancers show higher expression of CD133, CD117, and Bmi1, as well as higher histological grades.
Conclusions: Our study indicated that there exist extratumoral and intratumoral heterogeneity in ovarian epithelial cancers related to CSCs. And this is worth further studying.