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Endocr Relat Cancer. 2004 Mar;11(1):35-49.

Inhibin/activin and ovarian cancer.

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  • 1Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research, PO 5152, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia. david.robertson@med.monash.edu.au

Abstract

Inhibin and activin are members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) family of cytokines produced by the gonads, with a recognised role in regulating pituitary FSH secretion. Inhibin consists of two homologous subunits, alpha and either betaA or betaB (inhibin A and B). Activins are hetero- or homodimers of the beta-subunits. Inhibin and free alpha subunit are known products of two ovarian tumours (granulosa cell tumours and mucinous carcinomas). This observation has provided the basis for the development of a serum diagnostic test to monitor the occurrence and treatment of these cancers. Transgenic mice with an inhibin alpha subunit gene deletion develop stromal/granulosa cell tumours suggesting that the alpha subunit is a tumour suppressor gene. The role of inhibin and activin is reviewed in ovarian cancer both as a measure of proven clinical utility in diagnosis and management and also as a factor in the pathogenesis of these tumours. In order to place these findings into perspective the biology of inhibin/activin and of other members of the TGFbeta superfamily is also discussed.

PMID:
15027884
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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