Dr. Ernst Lengyel and colleagues at The University of Chicago have discovered that vitronectin receptor (αvβ3-integrin) expression significantly improved ovarian cancer patient prognosis. They present these findings in the November 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.
Ovarian cancer affects 1 out of 40-60 women. Because early stages of ovarian cancer are often asymptomatic, it is frequently discovered after metastasis to other tissues. The five-year survival rate for all stages of ovarian cancer is 45.5%.
Vitronectin receptor expression plays a key role in tumor progression in breast cancer and melanoma as well as in tumor angiogenesis in endothelial cells. Kaur et al therefore examined the function of this molecule in ovarian cancer. In contrast to other tumor models, ovarian cancer cells that expressed high levels of αvβ3-integrin showed impaired signs of metastasis and proliferated at a slower rate. Conversely, inhibiting α3-integrin increased ovarian cancer cell invasion and proliferation. In addition, high α3-integrin expression significantly improved ovarian cancer patient prognosis.
Kaur et al suggest that "when expressed on tumor cells, αvβ3-integrin can be a marker for a less aggressive cancer cell population and therefore, might not be an appropriate target for inhibition."
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