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Open Access Research article

The prognostic value of estrogen receptor beta and proline-, glutamic acid- and leucine-rich protein 1 (PELP1) expression in ovarian cancer

Stefanie Aust1, Peter Horak2, Dietmar Pils1, Sophie Pils1, Christoph Grimm1, Reinhard Horvat3, Dan Tong1, Bernd Schmid4, Paul Speiser1, Alexander Reinthaller1 and Stephan Polterauer1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Gynaecology and Gynaecological Oncology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, 1090, Austria

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, 1090, Austria

3 Department of Pathology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, 1090, Austria

4 Department of Gynaecology and Gynaecological Oncology, Hietzing Hospital Vienna, Vienna, 1130, Austria

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:115  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-115

Published: 14 March 2013



Proline-, glutamic acid-, and leucine-rich protein 1 (PELP1), a coregulator of the estrogen receptors (ERs) alpha and beta, is a potential proto-oncogene in hormone dependent gynecological malignancies. To better understand the role of PELP1 in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), the protein expression and prognostic significance of PELP1 was evaluated together with ERalpha and ERbeta in EOC tissues.


The expression of PELP1, ERalpha, and ERbeta was characterized in tumor tissues of 63 EOC patients. The prognostic value was calculated performing log-rank tests and multivariate Cox-Regression analysis. In a second step, validation analysis in an independent set of 86 serous EOC patients was performed.


Nuclear PELP1 expression was present in 76.2% of the samples. Prevalence of PELP1 expression in mucinous tumors was significantly lower (37.5%) compared to serous (85.7%) and endometrioid tumors (86.7%). A significant association between PELP1 expression and nuclear ERbeta staining was found (p=0.01). Positive PELP1 expression was associated with better disease-free survival (DFS) (p=0.004) and overall survival (OS) (p=0.04). The combined expression of ERbeta+/PELP1+ revealed an independent association with better DFS (HR 0.3 [0.1-0.7], p=0.004) and OS (HR 0.3 [0.1-0.7], p=0.005). In the validation set, the combined expression of ERbeta+/PELP1+ was not associated with DFS (HR 0.7 [0.4-1.3], p=0.3) and OS (HR 0.7 [0.3-1.4], p=0.3).


Positive immunohistochemical staining for the ER coregulator PELP1, alone and in combination with ERbeta, might be of prognostic relevance in EOC.

PELP1; Estrogen receptor alpha; Estrogen receptor beta; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis; Ovarian cancer