Ovarian Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Molecular Subsets of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Tumors May Impact Future Treatments

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Investigators from Stanford University in California analyzed more than 800,000 single cancer cells from 17 patients newly diagnosed with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), working at a never-before-undertaken level of specificity. The results, published in Cell Reports, have the researchers hopeful that cell phenotypes that co-occurred across tumors may be studied further, “with the aim of targeted individualized therapies” for this patient population.

“Studies like ours are critical to understanding how tumors evolve, metastasize, and become resistant to drugs,” commented cancer biologist Wendy Fantl, PhD, in SCOPE, published by Stanford Medicine. “Focusing drug therapies on reducing or eliminating such cells could significantly improve outcomes for this deadly disease.”

The team of investigators used multiparametric mass cytometry (CyTOF), a technology developed in the lab of microbiologist/immunologist coauthor Garry Nolan, PhD. They identified noteworthy cell types co-occurring across the HGSOC tumors, which Dr. Fantl and colleagues noted “would have been lost by bulk processing.”

Dr. Fantl shared these thoughts with SCOPE on the therapeutic implications of their research findings. “We hypothesize that the combination of three metastasis-inducing proteins [vimentin, HE4, and cMyc] expressed together in the same cells will ensure these cells are not only strongly predisposed to resist platinum chemotherapy treatment but are susceptible to further mutation to enable them to escape the confined of the primary tumor.” The increased presence of these cells seems to predict a higher risk of early relapse.

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