Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from female genital malignancies, with more than half of the patients diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. E-cadherin ant the catenins play key roles in cell adhesion and motility. Little is known about the changes in expression of these molecules in the progression of ovarian carcinomas. This minireview summarizes our results obtained concerning the immunoexpression pattern of the cell adhesion complex E-cadherin, alpha, beta and gamma catenins in 154 Epithelial Ovarian Tumours and its association with clinicopathological features and patientssurvival. The biological behaviour of the tumour varied according to the immunohistochemical expression of the proteins Ecadherin and β-catenin. Reduced β-catenin expression associated with aggressive clinicopathological features, whereas the absence of E-cadherin or β-catenin associated with poor patient prognosis. When the E-cadherin-catenin complex was examined in these tumours, severed intermolecular protein interactions were observed, demonstrating that the adhesive function of E-cadherin depends on the integrity of the entire structure. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that alterations of E-cadherin and beta catenin play a role in epithelial ovarian cancer. Also, the observation that negative β-catenin expression associated with poor patient prognosis and was observed in early stage tumours, suggests that beta catenin may be a useful prognostic marker for the clinical assessment of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Keywords: Ovarian cancer, cell adhesion, epithelial cadherin, catenins, immunohistochemistry
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