Open Access Research article

WT1 gene expression as a prognostic marker in advanced serous epithelial ovarian carcinoma: an immunohistochemical study

Wirote Netinatsunthorn1, Jitti Hanprasertpong1*, Chavaboon Dechsukhum2, Roengsak Leetanaporn1 and Alan Geater3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai, Songkhla, Thailand

2 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai, Songkhla, Thailand

3 Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai, Songkhla, Thailand

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:90  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-90

Published: 11 April 2006

Abstract

Background

WT1 is a tumor suppressor gene responsible for Wilms' tumor. WT1 reactivity is limited to ovarian serous carcinomas. Recent studies have shown that WT1 plays an important role in the progression of disease and indicates a poorer prognosis of human malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia and breast cancer. The aims of this study were to determine the survival and recurrence-free survival of women with advanced serous epithelial ovarian carcinoma in relation to WT1 gene expression.

Methods

The study accrued women over an 18-year period, from 1987–2004. During the study period, 163 patients were diagnosed with advanced serous epithelial ovarian carcinoma and had undergone complete post-operative chemotherapy, but the final study group comprised 99 patients. The records of these women were reviewed and the paraffin-embedded tissue of these women stained with WT1 immunostaining. Survival analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methods.

Results

Fifty patients showed WT1 staining and forty-nine did not. Five-year survival of non-staining and staining groups were 39.4% and 10.7% (p < 0.00005); five-year recurrence-free survival of these groups were 29.8% and ≤ 7.5% (p < 0.00005), respectively. For survival the HR of WT1 staining, adjusted for residual tumor and chemotherapy response, was 1.98 (95% CI 1.28–3.79), and for recurrence-free survival the HR was 3.36 (95% CI 1.60–7.03). The HR for recurrence-free survival was not confounded by any other variables.

Conclusion

This study suggests that expression of WT1 gene may be indicative of an unfavorable prognosis in patients with advanced serous epithelial ovarian carcinoma.