Research Papers:

Clinical impact of L1CAM expression measured on the transcriptome level in ovarian cancer

Samira Abdel Azim _, Michaela Duggan-Peer, Susanne Sprung, Daniel Reimer, Heidi Fiegl, Afschin Soleiman, Christian Marth and Alain G. Zeimet

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:37205-37214. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9291

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Samira Abdel Azim1, Michaela Duggan-Peer1, Susanne Sprung1, Daniel Reimer1, Heidi Fiegl1,2, Afschin Soleiman1, Christian Marth1, Alain G. Zeimet1

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry, Medical University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Correspondence to:

Alain G. Zeimet, email: [email protected], [email protected]

Keywords: ovarian cancer, L1CAM, targeted therapy, RT-PCR, survival

Received: October 21, 2015    Accepted: April 18, 2016    Published: May 11, 2016


Background: High expression of L1 cell adhesion molecules (L1CAM) has been repeatedly shown to be associated with aggressive disease behavior, which translates in poor clinical outcome in various cancer entities. However, in ovarian cancer results based either on immunohistochemistry or cytosolic protein quantifications remained conflicting regarding clinical behavior. In the present work we assessed L1CAM expression on the transcriptome level with the highly sensitive quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) to define its relevance in ovarian cancer biology.

Results: There was a significant difference in L1CAM high and low mRNA expressing cancers with regard to disease-free (p=0.002) and overall survival (p=0.008). L1CAM proofed to be an independent predictor for disease progression (HR 1.8, p=0.01) and overall survival (HR 1.6, p=0.04). Furthermore, a significant positive correlation between the level of L1CAM and the grade of tumor differentiation (p=0.04), the FIGO stage (p=0.025) as well as the histological subtype (p= 0.002) was found.

Methods: This study included fresh frozen tissue samples of 138 patients with FIGO I-IV stage ovarian cancer. L1CAM mRNA expression was determined using qRT-PCR. In the calculations special attention was put on the various histological subtypes. In survival analysis median L1CAM mRNA expression obtained in the entire cohort of ovarian cancer samples was used as a cut-off to distinguish between high and low L1CAM mRNA expression.

Conclusion: L1CAM mRNA expression appears to play a substantial role in the pathophysiology of ovarian cancer that is translated into poor clinical outcome. Additionally humanized L1CAM antibodies, which can serve as potential future treatment options are under testing.

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