Overexpression of the Embryonic-Lethal Abnormal Vision-like Protein HuR in Ovarian Carcinoma Is a Prognostic Factor and Is Associated with Increased Cyclooxygenase 2 Expression

Carsten Denkert, Wilko Weichert, Sören Pest, Ines Koch, Dirk Licht, Martin Köbel, Angela Reles, Jalid Sehouli, Manfred Dietel, Steffen Hauptmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations

Abstract

The human embryonic-lethal abnormal vision-like protein HuR is involved in the regulation of mRNA turnover and serves as a shuttling protein between the nucleus and the cytoplasm that stabilizes mRNAs containing adenine- and uridine-rich elements in their 3′ untranslated region. We have shown recently that expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 is related to poor prognosis in ovarian carcinoma. Other studies have shown that the COX-2 mRNA contains an adenine- and uridine-rich element and is stabilized by HuR. In this study, we investigated the expression and cellular distribution of HuR in 83 primary ovarian carcinomas, 16 borderline tumors of the ovary, 3 normal ovaries, and 9 ovarian carcinoma cell lines. Expression of HuR was detected in all cell lines on the mRNA and protein level and showed a predominantly nuclear staining in OVCAR-3 cells by confocal microscopy. In an immunohistochemical evaluation of human ovarian carcinomas, HuR showed a nuclear expression in 81% of tumors. In addition, a cytoplasmic expression of HuR was observed in a subgroup of 45% of ovarian carcinomas. Nuclear as well as cytoplasmic expression of HuR was significantly increased in ovarian carcinomas compared with borderline tumors or normal ovaries. In univariate analysis, a significant association between cytoplasmic HuR expression and increased COX-2 expression (P = 0.025) as well as between histological grade (P = 0.008) and mitotic activity (P = 0.002) was observed, although nuclear expression of HuR was not correlated with COX-2 expression or other clinicopathological parameters. In Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, increased cytoplasmic expression of HuR was a significant prognostic indicator for progression-free survival (P = 0.03) as well as overall survival (P = 0.007). In multivariate analysis using the Cox regression model, cytoplasmic expression of HuR was an independent prognostic parameter for reduced overall survival with a relative risk of 2.62 (95% confidence interval, 1.32-5.19). Our results suggest that there is a dysregulation of cellular distribution of the mRNA stability factor HuR in a subset of invasive ovarian carcinomas. This dysregulation appears to result in an increased expression of COX-2, an increased proliferative rate, and may lead to a reduced survival time. Additional studies are required to analyze the downstream effects of increased cytoplasmic expression of HuR. In addition, it would be interesting to investigate the prognostic role of increased cytoplasmic expression of HuR in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Overexpression of the Embryonic-Lethal Abnormal Vision-like Protein HuR in Ovarian Carcinoma Is a Prognostic Factor and Is Associated with Increased Cyclooxygenase 2 Expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this