Cell growth regulation in epithelial ovarian cancer

R. C. Bast, C. M. Boyer, I. Jacobs, [Unknown] Feng Ji Xu, S. Wu, J. Wiener, M. Kohler, A. Berchuck

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background. As in the case of other epithelial neoplasms, most ovarian cancers arise from single clones of cells that have undergone multiple genetic alterations. A comparison of normal and malignant ovarian epithelium has identified several differences in growth regulation by peptide growth factors, protooncogenes, and tumor suppressor genes. Methods. Recent articles and abstracts have been reviewed. Results. The malignant ovarian epithelial phenotype has been associated with (1) autocrine growth stimulation by transforming growth factor-alpha, (2) loss of autocrine growth inhibition by transforming growth factor-beta, (3) mutation or amplification of ras in 2- 12% of cases, (4) amplification of myc in 23% of specimens, (5) expression of fms in 56% of cases with potential autocrine stimulation by macrophage colony stimulating factor, (6) paracrine stimulation by macrophage products including interleukin-1, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor, (7) overexpression of c-erbB-2 (HER-2/neu) in 30% of cases, and (8) mutation with consequent overexpression of p53 in 50% of advanced ovarian cancers. A poor clinical prognosis is associated with expression or overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor, fms, and HER-2/neu. Antibodies against the extracellular domain of the HER-2/neu gene product p185 inhibit the growth of tumor cells that overexpress HER-2/neu and are associated with marked decreases in diacylglycerol levels. The intracellular kinase domain is required for growth inhibition. Antibodies that inhibit growth stimulate phosphorylation of intracellular substrates. Ricin A chain monoclonal antibody conjugates that react with p185 also inhibit the growth of tumor cells that overexpress p185. The intracellular kinase region is not required for immunotoxin-mediated killing. Coexpression of HER-2/neu and the epidermal growth factor receptor has been observed in 65% of epithelial ovarian cancers and in a limited number of normal tissue from a fraction of donors. Conclusions: Multiple alterations in growth factors, protooncogenes and growth factors have been detected in different epithelial ovarian cancers. Inappropriate signalling from receptor tyrosine kinases may be particularly important for ovarian oncogenesis. Drugs that affect tyrosine kinase and phosphatase activity deserve attention as potential therapeutic agents for ovarian cancer. The extracellular domains of the HER-2/neu gene product p185 and the epidermal growth factor receptor may provide useful targets for serotherapy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1597-1601
    Number of pages4
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1993


    • epidermal growth factor receptor
    • growth factor
    • oncogene
    • ovarian cancer
    • transforming growth factor-alpha
    • transforming growth factor-beta
    • tumor-suppressor gene


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