Author(s): Noske A, Schwabe M, Weichert W, DarbEsfahani S, Buckendahl AC,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: In ovarian cancer, the reported rate of EGFR expression varies between 4-70\% depending on assessment method and data on patient outcome are conflicting. METHODS: In this study we investigated EGFR expression and its prognostic value in a cohort of 121 invasive ovarian carcinomas, using a novel antibody against the intracellular domain of the receptor. We further evaluated an association between EGFR, the nuclear transporter CRM1 as well as COX-2. Furthermore, we evaluated EGFR expression in ten ovarian cancer cell lines and incubated cancer cells with Leptomycin B, a CRM1 specific inhibitor. RESULTS: We observed a membranous and cytoplasmic EGFR expression in 36.4\% and 64\% of ovarian carcinomas, respectively. Membranous EGFR was an independent prognostic factor for poor overall survival in ovarian cancer patients (HR 2.7, CI 1.1-6.4, p = 0.02) which was also found in the serous subtype (HR 4.6, CI 1.6-13.4, p = 0.004). We further observed a significant association of EGFR with COX-2 and nuclear CRM1 expression (chi-square test for trends, p = 0.006 and p = 0.013, respectively). In addition, combined membranous EGFR/COX-2 expression was significantly related to unfavorable overall survival (HR 7.2, CI 2.3-22.1, p = 0.001).In cell culture, we observed a suppression of EGFR protein levels after exposure to Leptomycin B in OVCAR-3 and SKOV-3 cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the EGFR/COX-2/CRM1 interaction might be involved in progression of ovarian cancer and patient prognosis. Hence, it is an interesting anti-cancer target for a combination therapy. Further studies will also be needed to investigate whether EGFR is also predictive for benefit from EGFR targeted therapies.
This article was published in BMC Cancer
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology