c-FLIPL expression defines two ovarian cancer patient subsets and is a prognostic factor of adverse outcome

Marina Bagnoli, Federico Ambrogi, Silvana Pilotti, Paola Alberti, Antonino Ditto, Mattia Barbareschi, Enzo Galligioni, Elia Biganzoli, Silvana Canevari, Delia Mezzanzanica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impairment of apoptotic pathways represents an efficient mechanism to promote chemoresistance in cancer cells. We previously showed that in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cells, long isoform of cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIPL) accounts for apoptosis resistance in a context of functional p53 and resistance could be overcome by c-FLIPL downmodulation. Here, we studied the association between c-FLIPL and p53 expressions and their prognostic impact in EOC patients. Tumor tissue from 207 patients diagnosed with primary EOC was analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) for c-FLIPL and p53 expressions, and multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) was used to evaluate the multivariable pattern of association among patients' clinical-pathological characteristics and biological determinants. IHC revealed c-FLIPL expression and p53 nuclear accumulation inversely related (P=0.0001; odds ratio=0.29, confidence interval (CI)=0.15-0.055). MCA indicated that p53 accumulation was associated to clinical-pathological variables, while c-FLIPL expression contributed to the overall association pattern independently from other's clinical characteristics and complementary to p53. Kaplan-Meier curves showed a reduced survival time according to c-FLIPL expression in concert with p53 accumulation (median overall survival (OS): 35 months) compared with lack of expression of both markers (median OS: 110 months; log-rank test, P value=0.024). The multivariable Cox regression model, adjusted for known prognostic factors, identified c-FLIPL expression, but not p53 nuclear accumulation, as an independent prognostic factor for adverse outcome (hazard ratio=1.82, 95% CI=1.17-2.82; P=0.008). Altogether these data support the independent contribution of c-FLIPL in refining the prognostic information obtained from standard clinical-pathological indicators, confirming its pivotal role in promoting cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-453
Number of pages11
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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