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Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Oct 15;11(20):7243-54.

Ovarian carcinomas: CCN genes are aberrantly expressed and CCN1 promotes proliferation of these cells.

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  • 1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.



The connective tissue growth factor/cysteine-rich 61/nephroblastoma overexpressed (CCN) family consists of six matricellular proteins that are involved in various cellular functions, such as proliferation, development, and angiogenesis. The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility that CCN genes are involved in ovarian cancers.


We quantified CCN expression in a series of 59 ovarian cancers using quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR. CCN1 protein levels were further determined by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Overexpression and inhibition of CCN1 expression by small interfering RNA were used to examine its role in ovarian cancer cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo.


We found dysregulation of levels of the various CCN mRNAs in ovarian cancers compared with their expression in normal whole ovaries. Expression of CCN1 protein was detected in normal ovarian epithelial cells and ovarian tumors as well as in ovarian cancer cell lines. Furthermore, estrogen increased CCN1 mRNA and protein levels in ovarian cancer cells. Ectopic expression of CCN1 enhanced the growth of ovarian cancer cells in liquid culture, whereas inhibition of its expression decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis in these cells. The observed changes in cell growth were accompanied with activation of Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathways. Stable expression of CCN1 in SKOV3 cells significantly increased tumorigenicity in nude mice. Finally, overexpression of CCN1 conferred resistant to carboplatin-induced apoptosis in SKOV3 cells.


This is the first study to show abnormalities in CCN expression in ovarian carcinomas. Furthermore, our results suggest that CCN1 may play a role in ovarian carcinogenesis by stimulating survival and antiapoptotic signaling pathways.

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