ASPM and microcephalin expression in epithelial ovarian cancer correlates with tumour grade and survival

A. Brüning-Richardson, J. Bond, R. Alsiary, J. Richardson, D. A. Cairns, L. McCormack, R. Hutson, P. Burns, N. Wilkinson, G. D. Hall, E. E. Morrison, S. M. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Background:The clinico-pathological and molecular heterogeneity of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) complicates its early diagnosis and successful treatment. Highly aneuploid tumours and the presence of ascitic fluids are hallmarks of EOC. Two microcephaly-associated proteins, abnormal spindle-like microcephaly-associated protein (ASPM) and microcephalin, are involved in mitosis and DNA damage repair. Their expression is deregulated at the RNA level in EOC. Here, ASPM and microcephalin protein expression in primary cultures established from the ascites of patients with EOC was determined and correlated with clinical data to assess their suitability as biomarkers.Methods:Five established ovarian cancer cell lines, cells derived from two benign ovarian ascites samples and 40 primary cultures of EOC derived from ovarian ascites samples were analysed by protein slot blotting and/or immunofluorescence to determine ASPM and microcephalin protein levels and their cellular localisation. Results were correlated with clinico-pathological data.Results:A statistically significant correlation was identified for ASPM localisation and tumour grade, with high levels of cytoplasmic ASPM correlating with grade 1 tumours. Conversely, cytoplasmic microcephalin was only identified in high-grade tumours. Furthermore, low levels of nuclear microcephalin correlated with reduced patient survival.Conclusion:Our results suggest that ASPM and microcephalin have the potential to be biomarkers in ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1602-1610
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
Early online date19 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


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