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Clin Exp Metastasis. 2000;18(1):83-8.

Increased expression of fascin, motility associated protein, in cell cultures derived from ovarian cancer and in borderline and carcinomatous ovarian tumors.

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Section of Gynecologic and Medical Therapeutics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Fascin bundles actin microfilaments within dynamic cellular structures such as microspikes, stress fibers and membrane ruffles. Fascin overexpression induces membrane protrusions and increased cell motility, and is highly expressed in various transformed cells, and in specialized normal cells including neuronal, endothelial and dendritic cells. In breast cancer, fascin expression correlates with high-grade tumors. To investigate whether fascin might be a predictor factor for ovarian cancer progression, eighteen cell cultures derived from ovarian cancer, and thirty four archival paraffin-embedded material of normal versus borderline and carcinomatous ovaries were stained by immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry with fascin Mab 55K-2. Overall expression of the fascin protein was found in 50% (9/18) of cell cultures derived from original samples of ovarian tumors. Expression of fascin protein was found in 67% (6/9) of cell cultures derived from patients diagnosed with stage IV disease, and 33% (3/9) of cell cultures from patients diagnosed with stage II/III. There was no clear relationship between fascin expression and histologic types, tumor grade, or DNA ploidy. However, 75% of cell cultures, which developed into a xenograft after intraperitoneal inoculation, showed fascin expression, while 86% of non-tumorigenic cell cultures did not show fascin expression. Expression of fascin in these established ovarian tumor cell cultures was significantly associated with the ability for these cells to grow intraperitoneally (P < 0.05). Furthermore, fascin was never expressed in normal epithelial ovarian tissues, but was present in all pathologic ovaries. Both diffuse and focal patterns were observed in borderline ovarian tumors (67% and 33%), advanced primary ovarian cancer (67% and 33%) and metastatic ovarian cancer (89% and 11%). Therefore, our data suggest that fascin could serve as a prognostic factor for abnormal ovarian epithelial pathology and could be a novel target for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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