We recently identified lipocalin2 (LCN2) as being upregulated in ovarian cancer cell lines. The purpose of this study was to validate LCN2 upregulation in ovarian cancers and to investigate its potential as a serum biomarker. We assayed LCN2 expression in ovarian cancers using real-time PCR and IHC. To evaluate the potential of LCN2 as a biomarker, we measured serum LCN2 levels in 54 ovarian cancers, 15 borderline and 53 benign ovarian tumors, and 90 healthy controls. SYBR green PCR and IHC showed LCN2 overexpression in ovarian cancers. LCN2 immunoreactivity was significantly associated with tumor differentiation (p=0.009), as well-differentiated tumors showed the highest LCN2 expression. Serum LCN2 level in ovarian cancer was significantly higher than in the other study groups (p<0.001), and in accordance with IHC results, it also correlated with tumor differentiation, with well-differentiated tumors having the highest value. The sensitivity and specificity of LCN2 in detecting ovarian cancer was 72.2% and 50.4%, respectively. By Cox univariate analysis, LCN2 positivity was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (hazard ratio = 1.47, p=0.012). In conclusion, LCN2 expressions are upregulated and related to tumor differentiation in ovarian cancers and should be included in future research assessing potential biomarkers for ovarian cancer. (J Histochem Cytochem 57:513–521, 2009
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