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An immunohistochemical evaluation for folate receptor-α (FRA) was undertaken to evaluate expression in gynecologic malignancies involving ovary, endometrium, and the fallopian tube. Commercial tissue microarrays were assessed using an optimized manual immunohistochemical method using MAb 26B3, a newly described monoclonal antibody. A positive result was defined as ≥5% of the sample demonstrating membranous staining. A semiquantitative staining algorithm, defined as the M-score, was used to analyze staining intensity between sample histotypes. MAb 26B3 showed uniform membranous staining and high levels of expression of FRA in ovarian, fallopian tube, and endometrial cancers. All serous ovarian cancers analyzed (70) were positive for FRA expression and no relationship to stage or grade was found. However, a significant difference for FRA expression, between serous and mucinous ovarian carcinomas, was demonstrated (P=0.014). In addition, approximately 90% of all endometrial adenocarcinomas were positive for FRA expression but, unlike ovarian serous carcinomas, a statistically significant relationship to grade was observed (P=0.0029). Although normal ovary is completely devoid of FRA immunoreactivity, normal fallopian tube and cortical serous/tubal inclusion cysts demonstrated uniform and intense FRA staining of columnar epithelium supporting the hypothesis that serous ovarian carcinoma is similar to the tubal epithelium. The data presented further support the hypothesis that FRA expression in gynecologic tumors is due to the cell of origin normally expressing this receptor. This is possibly due to an associated growth advantage, rather than the process of tumorigenesis resulting in aberrant expression of FRA per se.


Daniel J O'Shannessy, Elizabeth B Somers, Robert Smale, Yao-Shi Fu. Expression of folate receptor-α (FRA) in gynecologic malignancies and its relationship to the tumor type. International journal of gynecological pathology : official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists. 2013 May;32(3):258-68

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PMID: 23518909

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