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Biomarker Expression in Pelvic High-grade Serous Carcinoma: Comparison of Ovarian and Omental Sites

Köbel, Martin M.D.; Turbin, Dmitry M.D.; Kalloger, Steve E. B.Sc.; Gao, Dongxia M.D.; Huntsman, David G. M.D.; Gilks, C. Blake M.D.

International Journal of Gynecological Pathology: July 2011 - Volume 30 - Issue 4 - p 366–371
doi: 10.1097/PGP.0b013e31820d20ba

Neoadjuvant therapy has an emerging role in the treatment of high-stage ovarian carcinoma. Some ovarian carcinoma subtypes do not respond well to standard chemotherapy, making accurate subtype diagnosis before starting therapy important. This diagnosis is frequently based on omental biopsy specimens. In particular, with very small biopsies, immunostaining for diagnostic biomarkers may be needed. To assess intratumoral heterogeneity of biomarker expression in pelvic high-grade serous carcinoma, we compared the expression of a set of 10 biomarkers between ovarian and omental sites. Tissue microarrays were constructed from 123 high-grade serous carcinomas with paired ovarian and omental tumor samples. These samples were stained with biomarkers that have been used in ovarian carcinoma subtype diagnosis (WT1, TP53/p53, MUC16/CA125, CDKN2A/p16), and with biomarkers of the tumor microenvironment (CD8, CD163, SPARC, PDGFRB), cell adhesion (CDH1/E-Cadherin), and proliferation (Ki67) as well. Expression frequencies in samples from the 2 sites were compared, as was concordance at the 2 sites for individual tumors. The 2 markers of desmoplastic stromal response (PDGFRB, SPARC) were more frequently expressed in the omentum compared with the ovary (P<0.001; McNemar test). The other 8 markers did not show a significant difference in the frequency of expression between sites. Within individual cases, some markers such as Ki67 and CDKN2A showed variability, indicating that these markers are affected by intratumoral heterogeneity. The intratumoral variability for MUC16, TP53, and WT1 was modest. Commonly used diagnostic markers, such as TP53 and WT1, show little variability between ovarian and omental sites, suggesting that they can be successfully used in small biopsy specimens from extraovarian sites. In contrast, markers of host stromal response do vary between sites, suggesting a biologic difference of the microenvironment at different sites that should be taken into account when tissue-based research is carried out.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (M.K.), University of Calgary and Calgary Laboratory Services, Calgary, Alberta

Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre (D.T., S.E.K., D.G., D.G.H., C.B.G.), Vancouver General Hospital and the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Martin Köbel, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary, C1150—1403 29th ST, Foothill Medical Center, Calgary, AB, T2N 2T9 Canada. e-mail:

©2011International Society of Gynecological Pathologists