EphB4 and ephrinB2 expressions in ovarian cancers were studied to analyse EphB4/ephrinB2 functions against clinical backgrounds. EphB4 and ephrinB2 were dominantly localised in ovarian cancer cells of all cases studied. Both the histoscores and mRNA levels of EphB4 and ephrinB2 significantly increased with clinical stages (I<II<III<IV, P<0.001) in ovarian cancers, although there was no significant difference in EphB4 and ephrinB2 histoscores or in mRNA levels according to histopathological types. EphB4 as well as ephrinB2 histoscores in cancer cells correlated with the corresponding mRNA levels in each case (EphB4, P<0.001; ephrinB2, P<0.001). The 24-month survival rates of the 36 patients with high EphB4 and ephrinB2 expression were poor (25 and 27%, respectively), while for the other 36 patients with low EphB4 and ephrinB2 expression, they were significantly higher (68 and 64%, respectively). Therefore, EphB4/ephrinB2 may function in tumour advancement and coexpression of the Eph/ephrin system may potentiate tumour progression leading to poor survival. Thus, EphB4/ephrinB2 can be recognised as a novel prognostic indicator in the primary tumours of ovarian cancers
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