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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2009 Feb;2(2):114-21. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0065. Epub 2009 Jan 27.

Ovarian adenocarcinomas in the laying hen and women share similar alterations in p53, ras, and HER-2/neu.

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Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, [corrected] USA.

Erratum in

  • Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Mar;2(3):283.


We examined alterations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene and the ras and HER-2/neu oncogenes in chicken ovarian cancers to determine if these tumors have genetic alterations similar to those in human ovarian adenocarcinomas. Mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene and the H-ras and K-ras oncogenes were assessed by direct sequencing in 172 ovarian cancers obtained from 4-year-old birds enrolled at age 2 in two separate 2-year chemoprevention trials. Birds in trial B had approximately twice as many lifetime ovulations as those in trial A. Immunohistochemical staining for the HER-2/neu oncogene was done on a subset of avian ovarian and oviductal adenocarcinomas. Alterations in p53 were detected in 48% of chicken ovarian cancers. Incidence of p53 alterations varied according to the number of lifetime ovulations, ranging from 14% in trial A to 96% in trial B (P < 0.01). No mutations were seen in H-ras, and only 2 of 172 (1.2%) tumors had K-ras mutations. Significant HER-2/neu staining was noted in 10 of 19 ovarian adenocarcinomas but in only 1 of 17 oviductal adenocarcinomas. Similar to human ovarian cancers, p53 alterations are common in chicken ovarian adenocarcinomas and correlate with the number of lifetime ovulations. Ras mutations are rare, similar to high-grade human ovarian cancers. HER-2/neu overexpression is common and may represent a marker to exclude an oviductal origin in cancers involving both the ovary and oviduct.

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