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Int J Cancer. 2011 May 15;128(10):2326-34. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25577.

Impact of hemochromatosis gene (HFE) mutations on epithelial ovarian cancer risk and prognosis.

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Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Institut du cancer de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Cancer cells require large amounts of micronutrients, particularly iron, for their rapid growth and frequent divisions. Cellular iron uptake is regulated by the transferrin receptor and the hemochromatosis protein (HFE) system. Two frequent mutations in the HFE gene, H63D and C282Y, are associated with hemochromatosis type I, an inherited iron overload disease and, possibly, with cancer. In this study, we evaluated the frequency of the H63D and C282Y mutations in a cohort of 677 consecutive cases of woman with gynecological pathologies. Cases included 80 women with tumor-free pathologies normal ovary (NOV), 124 with benign ovarian tumors (BOV), 96 with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) tumors of low malignant potential (LPM), 264 with invasive tumors of the ovary (TOV) and 113 with endometrial cancer. We found that the C282Y allele frequency in EOC patients was higher than that in the control NOV group (5.8% vs. 1.3%, p < 0.001) and was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer (OR = 4.88; 95% CI 1.15-20.61; p = 0.018). The effect of the two HFE mutations on patient survival was also analyzed. Kaplan-Meier analyses did not find any significant association between the H63D allele and patient survival. However, EOC patients with at least one C282Y allele had a decreased overall survival compared to those with no C282Y allele (p = 0.001). These results indicate that the C282Y mutation may increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer and may be further associated with poor outcomes.

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