Stromal components interact with cancer cells to promote growth and metastasis. The purpose of this study was to identify genes expressed in stroma, which could provide prognostic information in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Seventy-four patients were included. We performed gene expression profiling and confirmed array data using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. By microarray analysis, 52 candidate genes associated with progression free survival (PFS) were identified (P < 0.005). Expression of the early growth response 1 (EGR1) and FBJ murine osteosarcoma viral oncogene homolog B (FOSB) genes was further analyzed. Array data were confirmed by RT-PCR and multivariate analysis demonstrated that both EGR1 and FOSB expression in cancer stroma, and EGR1 expression in cancer are independent prognostic factors in EOC. Immunohistochemically, EGR1 protein is localized in cancer cells and α-smooth muscle actin positive stromal fibroblasts. The EGR1 and FOSB expression in stromal cells and EGR1 expression in cancer cells are prognostic indicators in EOC.
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