Cultures of ovarian surface epithelium from women with and without a hereditary predisposition to develop female adnexal carcinoma

Jurgen M J Piek, Josephine C. Dorsman, Avi Shvarts, Anca C. Ansink, Leon F A G Massuger, Piet Scholten, Paul J. Van Diest, Jan C. Dijkstra, Jitske Weegenaar, Peter Kenemans, René H M Verheijen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aim. Conflicting evidence exists on whether in vivo morphological characteristics can distinguish Ovarian Surface Epithelium (OSE) of ovaries obtained from women with and without a predisposition to develop female adnexal (ovarian and fallopian tube) carcinoma. This study aims to detect differences in growth potential and morphology that are maintained or specifically expressed in vitro. Study design. Ovarian surfaces were scraped to retrieve OSE cells from 56 women at hereditary high risk for female adnexal carcinoma, of whom 33 are BRCA1 and four are BRCA2 mutation carriers (Predisposed OSE, POSE) and from 26 women without such risk (Non Predisposed OSE, NPOSE). Number of passages and total cell yield until last passage, as well as morphology was compared between both groups. To confirm morphology, the expression of epithelial, mesothelial, and fibroblast markers was assessed. Results. Both POSE and NPOSE cultures displayed similar growth potential and morphology. The expression of epithelial markers cyto-keratins 7 and 8 was similar between both groups. Only in cultures in which cells did not uniformly exhibit these markers, the percentage of cells expressing these markers was significantly lower at last passage when compared to the initial culture. In these latter cultures, cells that were morphologically indistinguishable from fibroblasts were observed. Mesothelial marker calretinin was expressed in 75% of cells of both POSE and NPOSE cultures and correlates with cyto-keratins 7 and 8 expression. CA 125 expression was equally low in POSE and NPOSE cultures (4.3%). Fibroblast markers FSM and vimentin were expressed in 100% and collagen IV was expressed in 16% of cells in all cultures. Conclusion. OSE cells derived from women with a hereditary predisposition to develop female adnexal cancer possess similar in vitro characteristics as OSE from women without this predisposition. On basis of our results, it seems advisable to study only 100% cyto-keratins 7 and 8 positive OSE cultures, since contamination of fibroblasts in some primary OSE cultures cannot be ruled out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-826
Number of pages8
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • Hereditary cancer
  • OSE
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Ovarian surface epithelium
  • Tissue culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Oncology


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