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Br J Cancer. 1997;75(10):1547-53.

Prognostic significance of ras/p21 alterations in human ovarian cancer.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.


Ras/p21 oncoprotein expression and K-ras mutations were analysed by Western blot and/or K-ras oligonucleotide hybridization in 78 primary ovarian cancers, 20 omental metastases, two low malignant potential tumours (LMP), nine benign ovarian tumours and 10 normal ovaries. A cut-off value of an integral of absorbance (i.a.) of 2.20, obtained by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, was shown to be the best cut-off for defining p21 positivity. p21 levels were higher in malignant tumours than in benign tumours (median 2.10 i.a. vs median 1.22 i.a.; P = 0.014) and in omental metastases than in primary ovarian carcinomas (median 2.54 i.a. vs median 2.1 i.a.; P = 0.0089). p21 overexpression did not correlate with any of the clinicopathological parameters examined. Follow-up data were available for 63 patients. A significant relationship was shown between p21 positivity and a shorter overall survival (OS) (P < 0.03) and progression-free survival (PFS) (P < 0.03). In multivariate analysis only the presence of ascites, p21 levels and epidermal growth factor receptor status retained an independent prognostic role. K-ras gene mutations were frequently detected in benign and low malignant potential tumours (71.4%), which were mostly mucinous (P = 0.0152).

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