Article

Ovarian Surface Epithelium: Biology, Endocrinology, and Pathology 1

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, British Columbia Women's Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3V5, Canada.
Endocrine Reviews (Impact Factor: 19.36). 05/2001; 22(2):255-88. DOI: 10.1210/edrv.22.2.0422
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The epithelial ovarian carcinomas, which make up more than 85% of human ovarian cancer, arise in the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE). The etiology and early events in the progression of these carcinomas are among the least understood of all major human malignancies because there are no appropriate animal models, and because methods to culture OSE have become available only recently. The objective of this article is to review the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the control of normal and neoplastic OSE cell growth, differentiation, and expression of indicators of neoplastic progression. We begin with a brief discussion of the development of OSE, from embryonic to the adult. The pathological and genetic changes of OSE during neoplastic progression are next summarized. The histological characteristics of OSE cells in culture are also described. Finally, the potential involvement of hormones, growth factors, and cytokines is discussed in terms of their contribution to our understanding of the physiology of normal OSE and ovarian cancer development.

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    • "For many years, the ovarian surface epithelium was thought to be the source of most ovarian cancers. Some of the evidence for this relates to the observation of inclusion cysts in the contralateral ovary of ovarian cancer patients (Scully, 1977; Auersperg et al., 2001), and the surface epithelial cell has been well studied in this regard. More recently, others have proposed that at least some ovarian cancers may arise from the fimbria or distal fallopian tube in women (Crum et al., 2007; Kindelberger et al., 2007). "
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    • "The cancer is extremely heterogeneous and manifests in multiple morphological forms within the major commonly recognised sub-types [2]. The treatment options for the majority of the four sub-types, that is serous, endometrioids , mucinuous and clear cell carcinomas are similar and have remained unchanged for the last two decades [3]. "
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    • "The ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) is a distinct layer of cuboidal cells with mesothelial lineage expressing high levels of estrogen receptors and separates ovary from peritoneal cavity as a protective barrier [56]. Further, a toxicant that affects the ovarian surface epithelium may enhance the risk of ovarian cancer, as this is thought to be the primary site of ovarian cancer development [26] [57]. Estradiol has been associated with the up-regulation of bcl-2 gene at mRNA and protein levels and may play a role in ovarian tumorigenesis in OSE cells [58], as the vast majority of ovarian cancers and its cystic derivatives are derived from the ovarian surface epithelium [59]. "
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