Proteomic analysis of transitional cell carcinoma–like variant of tubo-ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma

Basile Tessier-Cloutier, Dawn R. Cochrane, Anthony N. Karnezis, Shane Colborne, Jamie Magrill, Aline Talhouk, Jonathan Zhang, Samuel Leung, Christopher S. Hughes, Anna Piskorz, Angela S. Cheng, Kendall Greening, Andreas du Bois, Jacobus Pfisterer, Robert A. Soslow, Stefan Kommoss, James D. Brenton, Gregg B. Morin, C. Blake Gilks, David G. HuntsmanFriedrich Kommoss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The current World Health Organization classification does not distinguish transitional cell carcinoma of the ovary (TCC) from conventional tubo-ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC), despite evidence suggesting improved prognosis for patients with TCC; instead, it is considered a morphologic variant of HGSC. The immunohistochemical (IHC) markers applied to date do not distinguish between TCC and HGSC. Therefore, we sought to compare the proteomic profiles of TCC and conventional HGSC to identify proteins enriched in TCC. Prognostic biomarkers in HGSC have proven to be elusive, and our aim was to identify biomarkers of TCC as a way of reliably and reproducibly identifying patients with a favorable prognosis and better response to chemotherapy compared with those with conventional HGSC. Quantitative global proteome analysis was performed on archival material of 12 cases of TCC and 16 cases of HGSC using SP3 (single-pot, solid phase–enhanced, sample preparation)-Clinical Tissue Proteomics, a recently described protocol for full-proteome analysis from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. We identified 430 proteins that were significantly enriched in TCC over HGSC. Unsupervised co-clustering perfectly distinguished TCC from HGSC based on protein expression. Pathway analysis showed that proteins associated with cell death, necrosis, and apoptosis were highly expressed in TCCs, whereas proteins associated with DNA homologous recombination, cell mitosis, proliferation and survival, and cell cycle progression pathways had reduced expression. From the proteomic analysis, three potential biomarkers for TCC were identified, claudin-4 (CLDN4), ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal esterase L1 (UCHL1), and minichromosome maintenance protein 7 (MCM7), and tested by IHC analysis on tissue microarrays. In agreement with the proteomic analysis, IHC expression of those proteins was stronger in TCC than in HGSC (p < 0.0001). Using global proteomic analysis, we are able to distinguish TCC from conventional HGSC. Follow-up studies will be necessary to confirm that these molecular and morphologic differences are clinically significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Fallopian tubes
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Light microscopy
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Ovary
  • Proteomics
  • Serous carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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