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Clin Exp Med. 2003 Sep;3(2):113-8.

Prognostic significance of HLA-DR antigen in serous ovarian tumors.

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Department of Cytology, General Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Greece.

Erratum in

  • Clin Exp Med. 2003 Nov;3(3):186. Simopoulos P [corrected to Simopoulos C].


The antigens encoded by the major histocompability complex (HLA-DR) are cell glycoproteins that play a fundamental role in the regulation of the immune response. The prognosis of ovarian cancer is dependent on the histological type and on the clinical stage at diagnosis. Our study reports the value of HLA-DR antigen as a prognostic marker of ovarian serous adenocarcinoma. We studied 31 cases of serous ovarian cystadenoma, 12 cases of serous ovarian borderline cystadenoma, and 39 cases of well-differentiated cystadenocarcinoma for HLA-DR monoclonal antigen. We also studied the T helper marker (CD4) in the tumor stroma of the relevant cases, given that it is now known that the dependence of immune responsiveness on the class II antigens reflects the central role of these molecules in presenting antigen to T helper cells. HLA-DR was expressed in 20 of 31 cystadenomas (64.5%), 4 of 12 borderline tumors (33.3%), and in 10 of 39 invasive carcinomas (25.6%). CD4 was expressed in 9 of 31 cystadenomas (29%), 5 of 12 borderline tumors (42%), and in 26 of 39 invasive carcinomas (67%). There was a statistically significant difference for the two examined antigens in cystadenomas ( p<0.001) and invasive carcinomas ( p<0.001), whereas there was no statistical difference in borderline tumors ( p<0.5). The results showed decreased expression of HLA-DR and increased expression of CD4 as the lesion progressed to malignancy. The aberrant expression of HLA-DR by epithelial cells of cystadenomas, of borderline tumors, and of invasive adenocarcinomas agrees with the hypothesis of the adenoma/adenocarcinoma sequence. The immune attraction mechanism by low HLADR signaling seems to be of minor importance in the malignant and metastatic potential of serous ovarian tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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