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Fascin-1 expression as stratification marker in borderline epithelial tumours of the ovary
  1. Ahmed El-Balat1,
  2. Ruza Arsenic2,
  3. Nicole Sänger1,
  4. Thomas Karn1,
  5. Sven Becker1,
  6. Uwe Holtrich1,
  7. Knut Engels3
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Pathology, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany
  3. 3Center for Pathology, Cytology and Molecular Pathology, Neuss, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Karn, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, Frankfurt 60590, Germany; t.karn{at}


Aims To evaluate the actin-bundling protein fascin-1 (FSCN1) as marker for borderline ovarian tumours (BOTs).

Methods We analysed a retrospective cohort of 140 BOTs with validated diagnosis by an independent pathologist. Immunohistochemical detection of FSCN1 was quantified as combined immunoreactive score (CIS) blinded to clinical patient data. Analyses were first performed for FSCN1 positive versus negative, and then verified using three categories derived from the observed distribution (negative, weak, strong; CIS 0, 1–2, 3–9).

Results We detected FSCN1 positivity in 51.4%, and strong expression (CIS 3–9) in 14.3% of the samples. FSCN1 positivity was associated with serous subtype (p<0.001) and micropapillary pattern (p<0.001). Correlation with micropapillary pattern remained significant within the serous BOT (SBOT) subgroup (p=0.022). Strong FSCN1 expression (CIS 3–9) was associated both with the presence of implants (p=0.022), and a higher International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage (p=0.020).

Conclusions Our analysis links FSCN1 with SBOT with micropapillary pattern. Strong expression is associated with higher FIGO stage and the presence of implants, both related to elevated risk of recurrence. Hence, FSCN1 is an interesting marker worth further analyses of its prognostic value in BOTs.


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