Secretory cell expansion with aging: Risk for pelvic serous carcinogenesis

Jie Li, Yan Ning, Nisreen Abushahin, Zeng Yuan, Yiying Wang, Yue Wang, Bingbing Yuan, Janiel M. Cragun, Setsuko K. Chambers, Kenneth Hatch, Beihua Kong, Wenxin Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective Recent advances suggest that precancerous lesions of pelvic serous carcinoma (PSC) originate from tubal secretory cells. The purpose of our study was to determine if increased number of secretory cells shows difference in age and location and to examine their association with serous neoplasia. Materials and methods Three groups (benign control, high-risk, and PSC) of patients with matched ages were studied. The age data was stratified into 10-year intervals ranging from age 20 to older than 80. The number of secretory and ciliated cells from both tubal fimbria and ampulla segments was counted by microscopy and immunohistochemical staining methods. The data was analyzed by standard contingency table and Poisson distribution methods after age justification. Results We found that the absolute number of tubal secretory cells increased significantly with age within each age group. Age remained a significant risk factor for serous neoplasia after age adjustment. In addition, a dramatic increase of secretory cells was observed in high-risk and PSC patients. Further, secretory cell expansion (SCE) was more prevalent than secretory cell outgrowth in both fimbria and ampulla tubal segments and was significantly associated with serous neoplasia (p < 0.001). Conclusions These findings suggest that SCE could potentially serve as a sensitive biomarker for early serous carcinogenesis within the fallopian tube. Findings support a relationship between serous neoplasia and increased secretory to ciliated cell ratios. Findings also support a relationship between frequency of SCE and increasing age, presence of high-risk factors and co-existing serous cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-560
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Fallopian tube
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Oviduct
  • Pathogenesis
  • Pelvic serous carcinoma
  • Tubal secretory cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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