Immunoradiometric and immunohistochemical analysis of Cathepsin D in ovarian cancer: Lack of association with clinical outcome

G. Ferrandina, G. Scambia, A. Fagotti, G. D'Agostino, P. Benedetti Panici, A. Carbone, S. Mancuso

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The aim of this study was to analyse the clinical significance of Cathepsin D (Cath D) content as determined by an immunoradiometric assay in a series of primary untreated ovarian cancers from 162 patients. In addition, immunohistochemical analysis of Cath D was also performed on a subset of 86 tumours. Cath D levels were distributed in an asymmetrical way and were skewed towards the lower values (median value 20.8 pmol mg-1 protein, range 2.0-99.0 pmol mg-1 protein). No correlation was found between Cath D levels and clinicopathological parameters. However, the percentage of Cath D positivity was significantly higher in oestrogen receptor-positive (57%) compared with oestrogen receptor-negative (36%) cases (P = 0.01). The percentage of Cath D-positive staining was not significantly different for both epithelial (27%) and stromal components (40%). Immunoradiometrically detected Cath D levels were not different according to Cath D stromal immunostaining (P = 0.18), while higher Cath D levels were measured in Cath D-positive than in Cath D-negative tumour epithelial cells (P = 0.027). Survival analysis was conducted on 161 primary untreated ovarian cancer patients. The 5-year overall survival rate was 57% and 55% in Cath D-positive and Cath D-negative patients respectively (P = 0.69). As far as time to progression was concerned, there was no significant difference in the survival rate of patients with either high or low Cath D content (P = 0.56). Similar results have been obtained in the subset of patients in which Cath D was analysed by immunohistochemistry. In conclusion, Cath D measurement in tumour extracts appears to have a limited usefulness in improving the prognostic characterization of ovarian cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1645-1652
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Cathepsin D
  • Ovarian cancer prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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