Background: Tumor microenvironment is widely considered as a critical factor influencing prognosis of ovarian cancer patients. To further improve the unsatisfied clinical outcome of ovarian cancer patients, it is desperately needed to explore biomarkers with potential clinical value of ovarian cancer. Asporin (ASPN), as a member of the proteoglycan family in tumor microenvironment, has been proved to play a vital role in cancer progression by binding with CD44 receptor. However, there is still no report about the research of Asporin in ovarian cancer. The purpose of the present study was to explore the expression and prognostic significance of Asporin in high grade serous ovarian cancinoma(HGSOC).
Methods: The expression level of Asporin and CD44 in 85 formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) samples of 85 HGSOC patients was detected by immunohistochemistry. The association between the expression of the two biomarkers and the clinicopathologic factors of HGSOC was assessed by χ² test. The survival analyses were performed by Kaplan-Meier.
Results: Asporin was mainly expressed in CAFs of 85 HGSOC patients, while CD44 was mainly expressed on membrane of tumor cells. The positive rates of Asporin, CD44, and Asporin /CD44 co-expression were 43.53% (37/85), 34.12% (29/85) and 28.23% (24/85) in 85 HGSOC tissues, respectively. There were close associations between Asporin, CD44, Asporin/CD44 expression and CA125 level of blood, tumor differentiation, FIGO staging, chemoresistance of HGSOC patients. Further, univariate survival analysis showed that positive expression of Asporin and positive Asporin/CD44 co-expression of HGSOC indicated poor clinical outcomes, and multivariate survival analysis suggested that positive expression of Asporin and positive Asporin/CD44 co-expression were independent prognostic factors for disease–free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) of HGSOC patients, respectively.
Conclusion: Asporin was mainly expressed in CAFs of HGSOC patients. High expression of Asporin may identify a subgroup of HGSOC patients with more chemoresistance clinicopathological features and may be a potential prognostic predictor and therapeutic target for HGSOC patients.