Neuronal transcription factor Brn-3a(l) is over expressed in high-grade ovarian carcinomas and tumor cells from ascites of patients with advanced-stage ovarian cancer.

Journal of ovarian research

PubMedID: 20670407

Ahmed N, Latifi A, Riley CB, Findlay JK, Quinn MA. Neuronal transcription factor Brn-3a(l) is over expressed in high-grade ovarian carcinomas and tumor cells from ascites of patients with advanced-stage ovarian cancer. J Ovarian Res. 2010;317.
OBJECTIVES
In view of the recent association of Brn-3 transcription factors with neuroblastomas, cervical, breast, and prostate cancers we examined the expression of Brn-3a(l) in normal ovaries and in different histological grades of ovarian tumors. The expression of Brn-3a(l) was also evaluated in normal ovarian and cancer cell lines and tumor cells isolated from the ascites of advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients.

METHODS
Normal ovaries, benign, borderline, grades 1, 2 and 3 ovarian tumors were analyzed by immunohistochemistry for Brn-3a(l) expression. A total of 46 ovarian specimens were included in the study. Immunofluorescence was used to investigate the expression of Brn-3a in normal ovarian and cancer cell lines. Brn-3a(l) expression was also evaluated by Western blot in tumor cells isolated from ascites of advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients and also in ovarian cancer cell lines.

RESULTS
Nearly 12% of normal and benign ovarian tissues and 57% of borderline ovarian tumors were positive for epithelial Brn-3a(l) expression. Stromal staining was higher and it constituted 40% of normal non-cancerous ovaries compared to 50 and 86% in benign and borderline tumors. On the other hand, 85-100% of grades 1, 2 & 3 ovarian tumors demonstrated nuclear and cytoplasmic Brn-3a(l) staining in the epithelium. Stromal staining in grades1, 2 and 3 tumors constituted 71-88% of total staining. Overall, immunoreactive Brn-3a was present in all grades of ovarian tumors. The extent of epithelial and stromal Brn-3a staining was significantly different between the normal and histological grades of tumors (epithelial-chi2 = 41.01, df = 20, P = 0.004, stromal-chi2 = 24.66. df = 15, P = 0.05). The extent of epithelial staining was significantly higher in grades 1 and 2 ovarian tumors compared to normal ovaries and benign ovarian tumors (p < 0.05). In parallel, stromal staining was significantly higher in grade 3 tumors compared to normal ovaries (p < 0.05). In addition, cytoplasmic and nuclear Brn-3a expression was evident in ovarian cancer cell lines while no such expression was observed in SV40 antigen immortalized normal ovarian cell lines.

CONCLUSION
These data suggest that like other cancers, Brn-3a(l) expression is enhanced in ovarian tumors and its expression is consistent with its known role in inhibiting apoptosis and enhancing tumorigenesis. Specific targeting of Brn-3a may provide a useful strategy for regulating multiple tumor related genes involved with ovarian carcinomas.