Identification and characterization of a molecular marker in epithelial ovarian cancer

Claudia Irene Vidal, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Carcinomas that arise from the ovarian surface epithelium represent a great challenge in gynecologic oncology. Although the prognosis of ovarian cancer is influenced by many factors capable of predicting clinical outcome, including tumor stage, pathological grade, and amount of residual disease following primary surgery, the biological aspects of ovarian cancer are not completely understood, thus implying that there may be other predictive indicators that could be used independently or in conjunction with these factors to provide a clearer clinical picture. The identification of additional markers with biological relevance is desirable. To identify disease-associated peptides, a phage display random peptide library was used to screen immunoglobulins derived from a patient with ovarian cancer. One peptide was markedly enriched following three rounds of affinity selection. The presence of autoantibodies against the peptide was examined in a panel of ovarian cancer patients. Stage IV patients exhibited a high percentage of positive reactivity (59%). This was in contrast to stage III patients, who only displayed 7% positive reactivity. Antibodies against the peptide were affinity purified, and heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) was identified as the corresponding autoantigen. The expression profile of the identified antigen was determined. Hsp90 was expressed in all sections examined regardless of degree of anaplasia. This thesis shows that utilizing the humoral response to ovarian cancer can be used to identify a tumor antigen in ovarian cancer. The data show that certain antigens may be expressed in ovarian tumors independent of the disease stage or grade, whereas circulating antibodies against such epitopes are only found in a subset of patients.

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Vidal, Claudia Irene, "Identification and characterization of a molecular marker in epithelial ovarian cancer" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131478.