Objective: To investigate alterations of integrin αv, survival and apoptosis signaling pathways in uterine leiomyomas. Materials and Methods: In a prospective study of 50 women with uterine leiomyomas that had been pathologically confirmed, specimens were obtained laparoscopically from 2007 to 2009. The expressions of integrin αv signaling pathways (Ras/Raf/ERK1/2, Akt and cleaved caspase-3), surface microstructures by surface electron microscopy and immunohistochemical findings were assessed. Results: The study yielded novel results: (1) the integrin αv expression approached a low level (mRNA 0.39 ± 0.06, protein 0.47 ± 0.08) with coherent alterations of its downstream signaling molecules (Ras, p-c-Raf, p-ERK1/2) (p <0.001); (2) smoother surface microstructures of uterine leiomyomas were correlated with low integrin αv expressions, and (3) survival signaling and apoptosis signaling were significantly down- and upregulated respectively (p <0.001). Conclusion: Integrin αv and related survival signaling pathways were downregulated, but the apoptosis was upregulated in uterine leiomyomas. Benign smooth-contoured tumors may have low integrin expressions and cancer invasion potentials.
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