(September 10, 2019) Ovarian clear-cell carcinoma is an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. Endometriosis is derived from the uterine endometrium and is a known risk factor for ovarian clear-cell carcinoma. Evidence supports ovarian clear-cell origins in the uterine endometrium. It has been known for years that co-occurring cellular mutations are observed in ovarian clear-cell carcinoma, but the consequences of these (ARID1A and PIK3CA) mutations in the endometrial epithelium were previously unknown.
In a recent article in the journal Nature Communications, Dr. Ronald Chandler’s lab uncovered a new role for specific mutations in a cellular process called collective epithelial cell migration. Collective migration describes the movement of groups of cells. Dr. Chandler’s lab provides evidence that collective migration allows abnormal cells to spread to outer areas within the female reproductive tract. His lab’s findings help explain why these mutations are observed in ovarian clear-cell carcinoma and other diseases or cancers derived from the endometrial epithelium, including endometriosis.
Dr. Chandler’s research supports the idea that, to understand the causes of ovarian cancer, researchers should focus their attention on non-ovarian tissues in the female reproductive tract, such as the fallopian tubes and uterine endometrium, because mutations alone do not explain all aspects of the disease.
More information can be found in the original Nature Communications article.