The biological differences between ovarian serous carcinoma and diffuse peritoneal malignant mesothelioma

Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology. 2006 Feb;23(1):35-43. [Link]

Davidson B, Risberg B, Berner A, Bedrossian CW, Reich R.

Department of Pathology, Norwegian Radium Hospital-National Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Recent improvements in immunohistochemistry panels used for differentiating ovarian serous carcinoma/primary peritoneal carcinoma (OC/PPC) from diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (DMPM) have resulted in improved diagnostic rates for these tumors in both cytological and histological material. However, little is known about the biological characteristics that differentiate these two cancer types. We performed a comparative analysis of cancer-associated molecule expression data for a cohort consisting of up to 270 serous OC/PPC specimens (only peritoneal lesions) and 32 peritoneal MM. The molecules studied were nerve growth factor receptors (p75, p-TrkA), angiogenic factors (VEGF, IL-8, bFGF, heparanase), laminin receptors (the 67-kDa receptor and the alpha 6 integrin subunit), proteases (MMP-2), immune response mediators (HLA-G), and signaling molecules (the MAPK members ERK, JNK, and p38). The methods used were immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and RT-PCR. DMPM specimens showed significantly higher expression of p75 (P < 0.001), p-TrkA (P < 0.001), and bFGF (P < 0.001), and significantly lower expression of the 67-kDa receptor (P < 0.001), alpha 6 integrin subunit (P = 0.025), VEGF (P < 0.001), IL-8 (P < 0.001), and HLA-G (P = 0.039) compared with OC/PPC. DMPM specimens showed higher activation ratio (phosphorylated/total enzyme ratio) of all three MAPK members (ERK, P = 0.017; JNK, P < 0.001; p38, P = 0.009) compared with OC/PPC. These data document significant differences in the expression of cancer- and metastasis-associated molecules in MM compared with ovarian carcinoma, and suggest that different biological pathways are involved in tumorigenesis and disease progression in these two tumors.