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J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 1998 Jun;17(2):231-7.

Androgen receptors in ovarian tumors: correlation with oestrogen and progesterone receptors in an immunohistochemical and semiquantitative image analysis study.

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Dept. of Experimental Medicine and Pathology, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


The expression and distribution of androgen, estrogen and progesterone receptors was examined by immunohistochemical staining in 31 paraffin-embedded sections from ovarian tumors and the results were assessed by semiquantitative image analysis. Immunohistochemical staining showed heterogeneous patterns of steroid receptor distribution, with mainly nuclear immunoreactivity. Eighty-four percent of benign and malignant ovarian tumors expressed androgen receptors (AR), 74.19% estrogen receptors (ER) and 41.16% progesterone receptors (PR). All benign tumors showed immunoreactivity for the three steroid receptors. Malignant tumors expressed higher AR and ER histochemical scores (H-scores) than PR (82% vs 71% vs 39%). The incidence and expression levels of the steroid receptors varied widely in the different histological types of malignant tumors. Spearman rank analysis showed a positive significant (P < 0.05) correlation between AR- and ER and between ER- and PR-H-scores. In malignant ovarian tumors, neither AR, ER nor PR immunohistochemical scores correlated with tumor FIGO stage. Densitrometric analysis of immunostained steroid receptors is a valid method for assessing the steroid status, because it reduces subjective elements in scoring sections and increases the reliability of results. The high incidence of AR expression confirms the functional role of AR in ovarian tumors and suggests that the determination of AR content in ovarian cancer could have prognostic value.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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