Plasmin(ogen) serves as a favorable biomarker for prediction of survival in advanced high-grade serous ovarian cancer
In serous ovarian cancer, the clinical relevance of tumor cell-expressed plasmin(ogen) (PLG) has not yet been evaluated. Due to its proteolytic activity, plasmin supports tumorigenesis, however, angiostatin(-like) fragments, derived from PLG, can also function as potent anti-tumorigenic factors. In the present study, we assessed PLG protein expression in 103 cases of advanced high-grade serous ovarian cancer (FIGO III/IV) by immunohistochemistry (IHC). In 70/103 cases, positive staining of tumor cells was observed. In univariate Cox regression analysis, PLG staining was positively associated with prolonged overall survival (OS) [hazard ratio (HR)=0.59, p=0.026] of the patients. In multivariable analysis, PLG, together with residual tumor mass, remained a statistically significant independent prognostic marker (HR=0.49, p=0.009). In another small patient cohort (n=29), we assessed mRNA expression levels of PLG by quantitative PCR. Here, elevated PLG mRNA levels were also significantly associated with prolonged OS of patients (Kaplan-Meier analysis; p=0.001). This finding was validated by in silico analysis of a microarray data set (n=398) from The Cancer Genome Atlas (Kaplan-Meier analysis; p=0.031). In summary, these data indicate that elevated PLG expression represents a favorable prognostic biomarker in advanced (FIGO III/IV) high-grade serous ovarian cancer.