Background ‘Triple-negative’ is traditionally used to define a specific subtype of breast cancer with negative oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor-type 2 (HER2) expressions. ER/PR and HER2 testing is also widely used in the informative classification of ovarian cancer.
Aim To investigate whether a ‘triple-negative’ subtype also exists in ovarian cancer.
Methods ER, PR and HER2 expressions in 116 Chinese women with primary epithelial ovarian cancer were reviewed. Triple-negative epithelial ovarian cancer (TNEOC) was defined based on negative ER, PR and HER2 expression. The clinicopathological characteristics and Ki-67, P53 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression in the TNEOC and non-TNEOC group were compared.
Results 15.5% of cases (18/116) were identified as TNEOC among 116 ovarian carcinomas. Histological grade 3 was found in a higher percentage of the TNEOC than of the non-TNEOC group (94.4% vs 62.2%). TNEOC also correlated with a high level of Ki-67 and p53 expression. EGFR overexpression and other clinicopathological characteristics were not significantly associated with TNEOC subtype. TNEOC was associated with a shorter progression free survival and overall survival in univariate and multivariate analyses.
Conclusions A novel subtype of ovarian carcinoma, which is negative for ER, PR and HER2 expression, has been identified; this specific ovarian subtype tends to have aggressive characteristics and a poor prognosis, which is similar to triple-negative breast cancer in most respects. TNEOC should be considered in future investigations of informative classification of ovarian cancer.
- Ovarian cancer
- triple negative
- oestrogen receptor (ER)
- progesterone receptor (PR)
- human epidermal growth factor receptor-type 2 (HER2)
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Competing interests None to declare.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethical committee of Shandong Cancer Hospital and Institute.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.