(September 21, 2018) In an international collaboration funded in part by OCRFA, published recently in Cell, researchers used proteomics, the large-scale study of proteins, to identify an important indicator for treatment and disease-free survival in patients with high grade serous ovarian cancer. The biomarker, known as CT45, is associated with better response to chemotherapy and longer disease-free survival. After testing tissue samples from the University of Chicago’s ovarian cancer tissue bank, they found that patients with high levels of biomarker CT45 survived up to seven times longer than those with little to none of the biomarker.
After identifying that CT45 was important for HGSOC patients, they set out to find out why. Knowing that patients with high levels of CT45 responded to platinum based chemotherapy led them to look at how CT45 reacted to the chemotherapy. In patients with high levels of CT45, a standard-of-care chemotherapy called carboplatin caused damage to the DNA, which in turn led to cell death, reducing the size of the tumor. Additionally, two peptides were found in ovarian cancer cells containing CT45, which activated an immune response to fight cancer cells,
Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD, co-lead author of the study and OCRFA Scientific Advisory Committee member stated, “We have evidence that tumor-specific expression of CT45 stimulates the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer, as would a virus or bacterial-infected cells. Our long-term goal is to find new ways to improve patient outcomes based on these exciting results.” Find more about the study from the University of Chicago here.