Alterations in p16 protein expression have been reported to be associated with tumor development and progression. However, p16 expression status in the peritumoral stroma has been rarely investigated. We investigated the stromal p16 expression in ovarian neoplasms using immunohistochemistry, and differences in the expression status depending on the degree of malignancy and histological type were analyzed. This study included 24, 21, and 46 cases of benign, borderline, and malignant ovarian lesions, respectively, of which 29, 25, and 32 cases were serous, mucinous, and endometriosis-associated lesions. Most benign lesions showed negative or weak expression, whereas borderline lesions showed focal, moderate expression. Malignant lesions showed markedly elevated stromal p16 expression compared with benign or borderline lesions. There were significant differences in stromal p16 expression between benign and borderline lesions (P < 0.001) and between borderline and malignant lesions (P < 0.001). These significances remained when analysis was performed based on lesion classification as serous, mucinous, and endometriosisassociated. In contrast, differences in stromal p16 expression among the histological types were not significant. Stromal p16 expression in ovarian neoplasms was absent or weak in benign and focal, moderate in borderline lesions, whereas malignant lesions exhibited diffuse, moderate-to-strong p16 immunoreactivity. Our observations suggest that stromal p16 expression is involved in the development of ovarian carcinoma. Further studies are necessary to confirm our preliminary results.
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