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Immune and inflammatory cascades may play multiple roles in ovarian cancer. We aimed to identify relationships between expression of immune and inflammatory mediators and patient outcomes. We interrogated differential gene expression of 44 markers and marker combinations (n = 1,978) in 1,656 ovarian carcinoma patient tumors, alongside matched 5-year overall survival (OS) data in silico. Using machine learning methods, we investigated whether genomic expression of these 44 mediators can discriminate between malignant and non-malignant tissues in 839 ovarian cancer and 115 non-malignant ovary samples. We furthermore assessed inflammation markers in 289 ovarian cancer patients’ sera in the Swedish Apolipoprotein MOrtality-related RISk (AMORIS) cohort. Expression of the 44 mediators could discriminate between malignant and non-malignant tissues with at least 96% accuracy. Higher expression of classical Th1, Th2, Th17, anti-parasitic/infection and M1 macrophage mediator signatures were associated with better OS. Contrastingly, inflammatory and angiogenic mediators, CXCL-12, C-reactive protein (CRP) and platelet-derived growth factor subunit A (PDGFA) were negatively associated with OS. Of the serum inflammatory markers in the AMORIS cohort, women with ovarian cancer who had elevated levels of haptoglobin (≥1.4 g/L) had a higher risk of dying from ovarian cancer compared to those with haptoglobin levels <1.4 g/L (HR = 2.09, 95% CI:1.38–3.16). Our findings indicate that elevated “classical” immune mediators, associated with response to pathogen antigen challenge, may confer immunological advantage in ovarian cancer, while inflammatory markers appear to have negative prognostic value. These highlight associations between immune protection, inflammation and clinical outcomes, and offer opportunities for patient stratification based on secretome markers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1593811
Issue number6
Early online date28 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019


  • Immune activation
  • M1/M2
  • Th1/Th2/Th17
  • biomarkers
  • immune mediators
  • inflammation
  • ovarian cancer


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