Transvaginal colour and pulsed Doppler ultrasonography analyses of blood flow velocity have indicated that intra-tumoral peak systolic velocity (PSV) is a good indicator of ovarian malignancy. Therefore, we examined whether there was an association between the expression of angiogenic genes, e.g. thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and TIE2 and the PSV of blood flow in normal and cancerous ovaries. Initially, 40 patients were examined by transvaginal ultrasonography and 23 ovaries were surgically removed; 14 were normal with corpora lutea (CL) and nine showed ovarian cancer. The ovarian tissue was dissected according to areas of high blood velocity and gene expression was examined using the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). No significant differences were found between PSV in the normal ovary with CL and ovarian cancer (P = 0.95). TP gene expression was significantly higher in ovarian cancer than in normal ovary with CL (P = 0.02), while TIE2 gene expression was not significantly different (P = 0.186). There was a significant correlation between TIE2 gene expression and PSV in the normal ovary with CL (r = 0.633, P = 0.015), while TP expression was significantly correlated with the PSV in ovarian cancer (r = 0.757, P = 0.018). These results indicate that there is a biological difference between physiological and pathological angiogenesis, TIE2 having a physiological role and TP being involved in pathological angiogenesis.
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