Morphological and phenotypical features of ovarian metastases in breast cancer patients
To assess the safety of reimplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue from advanced-stage breast cancer patients. Cryopreserved ovarian cortical fragments were obtained from 13 advanced-stage breast cancer patients aged 17–35 years. After thawing, part of the ovarian cortical tissue was grafted to severe combined immunodeficient mice for 6 months. The presence of malignant mammary cells in ovarian tissue was evaluated after thawing as well as after grafting by 1) histology and immunohistochemistry (epithelial membrane antigen, Her2/neu and gross cystic disease fluid protein 15 identification), and 2) detection of the MGB2 gene by qPCR. No malignant cells were evidenced by histology and immunohistochemistry. None of the mice died during the 6-month grafting period, nor developed macroscopically visible masses. MGB2 gene expression was detected by qPCR and confirmed by sequencing in frozen-thawed ovarian tissue in 4 cases and in grafts in 1 case. This pilot study is the first to evaluate the risk of contamination of cryopreserved ovarian tissue from advanced-stage breast cancer patients by xenotransplantation for 6 months to immunodeficient mice, associated with more conventional screening methods. Our xenografting results are reassuring, but caution needs to be exercised, as MGB2 gene expression was detected in some cases. Larger numbers of ovarian tissue samples from patients with advanced-stage breast cancer are required to confirm our findings before ovarian tissue transplantation can be contemplated in these patients.