Epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC) are a complex group of tumors that arise from multiple different precursor tissues, and the most common EOC subtype (high-grade serous) is now thought to originate in both the ovary and the fallopian tube. However, the early stages of cancer development are poorly understood. We propose that normal stem cells, that usually regenerate the epithelia linings of the ovary and fallopian tube, may be cells of origin for EOC. Little is know about normal tissue stem cells in these organs, but we are able to selectively culture these cells in our laboratory. In this study we will isolate and characterize stem cells from normal ovaries and fallopian tubes and compare the molecular profiles to stem cells from ovarian cancers, to identify common markers between the groups. To generate models of early cancer development we will introduce genetic changes into the stem cells, selectively altering genes that are common deregulated in high-grade serous EOCs.
There is currently no screening program for the early detection of EOC, though detecting EOCs earlier could significantly decrease mortality associated with this disease. However, no reliable biomarkers exist for effective detection of EOCs at the earliest, most treatable stages. Therefore, the models developed in this study will be used to develop novel biomarker and/or imaging-based modalities for screening for early-stage HGSOCs.
This grant has been made possible in part though a generous donation from Teal There’s a Cure.