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J Pathol. 1997 Nov;183(3):311-7.

Expression of MUC1 and MUC2 mucins in epithelial ovarian tumours.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Australia.


This is the first study to describe the association between expression of MUC1 and MUC2 mucins and prognosis in ovarian cancer. Paraffin sections of epithelial ovarian tumours (n = 182: 29 benign, 21 low malignant potential, and 132 invasive tumours) were analysed immunohistochemically for expression of MUC1 and MUC2 mucin core proteins. Most benign, low malignant potential, and invasive tumours showed high MUC1 expression in the cytoplasm. Low cytoplasmic expression of MUC1 was a predictor for good prognosis, particularly within stage III tumours. A minority of benign epithelial tumours, but most low malignant potential and invasive non-mucinous tumours, showed high MUC1 expression on the cell membrane. High apical MUC1 reactivity was associated with non-mucinous tumours. Low expression of MUC1 in the apical membrane was associated with early stage and good outcome for invasive tumours. Most benign and low malignant potential tumours, but only a minority of invasive tumours, showed MUC2 expression. MUC2 was found in non-mucinous as well as in mucinous tumours. The presence of MUC2 was inversely associated with high tumour grade but was not associated with altered survival. These results support experimental evidence that MUC1 influences the metastatic ability of ovarian cancer.

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