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Expression of Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule in Paired Tumor Samples of Patients With Primary and Recurrent Serous Ovarian Cancer

Pietzner, Klaus MD*; Woopen, Hannah MD*; Richter, Rolf PhD*; Joens, Thomas PhD; Braicu, Elena Ioana MD*; Dimitrova, Desislava MD*; Mellstedt, Håkan MD, PhD; Darb-Esfahani, Silvia MD§; Denkert, Carsten MD, PhD§; Lindhofer, Horst PhD; Fotopoulou, Christina MD, PhD*; Sehouli, Jalid MD, PhD*

International Journal of Gynecological Cancer: June 2013 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - p 797–802
doi: 10.1097/IGC.0b013e3182929056
Basic Science

Objective Ovarian cancer (OC) recurrence constitutes a therapeutic dilemma with various novel targeted agents emerging that offer alternative treatment options. The aim of the present study was to evaluate and compare epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) expression profiles in paired tumor samples of patients with OC relapse.

Methods EpCAM expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry using the avidin-biotin-complex method on paraffin-embedded OC tissues obtained at primary surgery as well as on corresponding tumor samples of the same patients at relapse. The EpCAM overexpression was defined as 76% to 100% of tumor cells positively stained for EpCAM. Clinical data were collected within the Tumorbank Ovarian Cancer Network.

Results Nineteen patients with serous OC histology were included in the study (median age at primary diagnosis, 50 years; range, 40–74 years). The majority of the patients (95%) presented with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage III/IV, and 68.4% of the tumors were poorly differentiated. A complete macroscopic tumor resection could be achieved in 15 patients (78.9%) at diagnosis. Epithelial cell adhesion molecule overexpression was detected in 17 (89%) of the primary and 16 (84%) of the recurrent tumors (P = 1.0); hence, no significant change of the EpCAM expression profile could be identified over time.

Conclusions Epithelial cell adhesion molecule expression profile appears to remain stable during the course from the primary throughout the relapse of serous OC. The results indicate that EpCAM might be an interesting therapeutic target structure in serous OC.

*Department of Gynecology, European Competence Center for Ovarian Cancer, Campus Virchow Klinikum, and †Center for Anatomy, Charité Campus Mitte, Charité-University Medicine of Berlin, Berlin, Germany; ‡Department of Oncology, Cancer Center Karolinska, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Stockholm, Sweden; and §Institute of Pathology, Charité Campus Mitte, Berlin, Charité-University Medicine of Berlin, Berlin; and ∥TRION Research GmbH, Martinsried, Germany.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jalid Sehouli, MD, Department of Gynecology, Charité-University Medicine of Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1 13353 Berlin, Germany. E-mail:

Drs Pietzner and Woopen share first authorship. Both authors contributed equally to this work.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Dr Lindhofer is the chief executive officer of TRION Research GmbH.

Copyright © 2013 by IGCS and ESGO