Apoptosis and the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax in patients with endometrioid, clear cell, and serous carcinomas of the uterine endometrium.Gynecol Oncol. 2001 May; 81(2):178-83.GO
Clear cell and serous carcinoma of the uterus are rare types of endometrial carcinomas. This study was designed to investigate the differential occurrence of apoptosis, Bcl-2, and Bax in endometrioid, clear cell, and serous carcinomas.
In a total of 28 endometrial carcinomas as well as 4 samples of normal postmenopausal endometria, apoptotic changes were examined using molecular biochemical techniques. The expression of Bcl-2 and Bax proteins was also investigated by immunohistochemical staining with appropriate antibodies.
Labeling of DNA in situ indicated that apoptotic cells were sporadically seen in postmenopausal endometrium (5.2 +/- 2.1, n = 4). In contrast, cells undergoing apoptosis apparently were detected in endometrioid carcinoma (29.3 +/- 3.7, n = 20), and their numbers increased intensely in clear cell (49.5 +/- 5.6, n = 5) and serous carcinomas (50.8 +/- 6.0, n = 3). Autoradiographic analysis revealed that high-molecular-weight DNA was predominant in postmenopausal endometrium. However, a DNA ladder was identified in 7 of 10 carcinomas. Although Bcl-2 was immunonegative or faintly immunopositive in all cases, many cases of endometrioid carcinoma (43.6 +/- 4.1%, n = 20) were immunopositive for Bax, unlike postmenopausal endometrium (17.6 +/- 6.7%, n = 4). Moreover, the number of cells expressing Bax increased in clear cell (60.4 +/- 6.5%, n = 5) and serous carcinomas (66.8 +/- 7.6%, n = 3) compared with that in endometrioid carcinoma.
These results indicate that apoptosis occurs in a specific population of cells in different histologic components of endometrial carcinomas. The expression of Bax, but not of Bcl-2, might suggest histologic differentiation in endometrial carcinomas.