Expression and clinical significance of the autophagy proteins BECLIN 1 and LC3 in ovarian cancer

Guido Valente, Federica Morani, Giuseppina Nicotra, Nicola Fusco, Claudia Peracchio, Rossella Titone, Oscar Alabiso, Riccardo Arisio, Dyonissios Katsaros, Chiara Benedetto, Ciro Isidoro

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Autophagy is dysregulated in cancer and might be involved in ovarian carcinogenesis. BECLIN-1, a protein that interacts with either BCL-2 or PI3k class III, plays a critical role in the regulation of both autophagy and cell death. Induction of autophagy is associated with the presence of vacuoles characteristically labelled with the protein LC3. We have studied the biological and clinical significance of BECLIN 1 and LC3 in ovary tumours of different histological types. The positive expression of BECLIN 1 was well correlated with the presence of LC3-positive autophagic vacuoles and was inversely correlated with the expression of BCL-2. The latter inhibits the autophagy function of BECLIN 1. We found that type I tumours, which are less aggressive than type II, were more frequently expressing high level of BECLIN 1. Of note, tumours of histologic grade III expressed low level of BECLIN 1. Consistently, high level of expression of BECLIN 1 and LC3 in tumours is well correlated with the overall survival of the patients. The present data are compatible with the hypotheses that a low level of autophagy favours cancer progression and that ovary cancer with upregulated autophagy has a less aggressive behaviour and is more responsive to chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number462658
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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