BRCA1 expression, proliferative and apoptotic activities in ovarian epithelial inclusions

Yiying Wang, Yue Wang, Li Wei, Shuhui Hong, Miaoqing Zhao, Xi Zhang, Wenxin Zheng

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1 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to examine proliferative and apoptotic activity in relation with BRCA1 expression in ovarian epithelial inclusions (OEIs), the putative precursor lesions of ovarian epithelial cancer (OEC). Methods: Benign ovaries from 95 patients were examined. Dual immunohistochemical staining for both BRCA1 and MIB-1 were performed to examine the relationship between BRCA1 and MIB-1 in OEI cells. Apoptotic activity was assessed on the parallel tissue sections by using TUNEL assay. Patients' age, menstrual phase and menopausal status were analyzed. Results: OEIs were present in the ovaries of 53% of the patients. OEIs were less frequently found in premenopausal (45%) than postmenopausal women (58%). BRCA1 and MIB-1 were found in 27 and 47% of the OEI-containing ovaries, respectively. All BRCA1 positive OEI cells are MIB-1 positive with dual staining method, although overall the percentage of positive cells was small. No significant difference was found for BRCA1 and MIB-1 expression in OEIs between menopausal status and menstrual phases. Apoptosis containing OEIs were seen in 70% of the ovaries. Compared to OEIs in proliferative menstrual phase and premenopausal status, significantly more apoptosis was found in OEIs from secretory phase and postmenopausal women. A small fraction of the epithelial cells within OEIs are proliferating or dying. Conclusions: Low estrogen and/or high progesterone levels may promote OEI cell turnover via induction of apoptosis. Imbalance between cell proliferation and death within OEIs under influence of hormones may play a role in the ovarian epithelial tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalJournal of Ovarian Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 7 2017


  • BRCA1
  • Ovarian cancer precursors
  • Ovarian epithelial inclusions
  • Ovarian epithelial proliferation and apoptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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