Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Origin of aggressive ovarian cancer discovered

Date:
March 6, 2013
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a likely origin of epithelial ovarian cancer (ovarian carcinoma), the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States.

Stem cells expressing marker LGR5 (green) were discovered in the hilum region of the ovary.
Credit: Nikitin Lab

Cornell University researchers have discovered a likely origin of epithelial ovarian cancer (ovarian carcinoma), the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States.

Pinpointing where this cancer originates has been difficult because 70 percent of patients are in advanced stages of disease by the time it is detected. Because the origin of ovarian carcinoma development is unknown, early diagnostic tests have so far been unsuccessful.

Some epithelial cancers are known to occur in transitional zones between two types of epithelium (layers of tissue that line the body and organs and form glands), while others originate in epithelial tissue stem cells. All organs have the capacity for regeneration, which is done by adult stem cells located in areas of each organ called stem cell niches.

With this knowledge, the researchers discovered a novel stem cell niche for the ovarian surface epithelium in mice and showed that ovarian carcinoma preferentially originates from stem cells found in that niche, according to the study published March 6 in the journal Nature. This stem cell niche lies in a transitional area known as the hilum region, a layer of cells that links the ovary to the rest of the body.

"We now know where these cells are located in mice, so we can look in humans in those areas," said Alexander Nikitin, professor of pathology, leader of the Cornell Stem Cell Program and the paper's senior author. Andrea Flesken-Nikitin, a postdoctoral researcher in Nikitin's lab, is the paper's lead author. The findings also provide a guide for scientists to look for stem cell niches and sources of cancer in other transitional zones in other organs, Nikitin added.

The researchers proved that stem cells from the hilum region were highly prone to ovarian carcinoma, using the most current genetic research techniques.

The researchers first found that cells in the hilum region express a known marker for stem cells, called ALDH1. They then isolated ALDH1 positive cells, sequenced their genetic profiles and found many markers previously reported for stem cells in other organs.

One of these markers, LGR5, has been studied for intestinal stem cells by other researchers who have bred special mice and developed an advanced method that uses a fluorescent protein to follow stem cells. The gene encoding the fluorescent protein is passed down from a stem cell to each generation of daughter cells, thereby marking the lineage. The technique "allows you to see the fate of stem cells over time," said Nikitin. Using the method on the hilum cells, "we showed that cells from the hilum area spread around the whole ovary."

Finally, the researchers microdissected ovary and hilum cells, inactivated two tumor suppressor genes p53 and Rb1, whose pathways are commonly altered in human aggressive ovarian carcinoma, and injected cells into the abdominal cavity of mice. Very few tumors developed in the mice injected with ovary cells, but almost all of the mice injected with hilum cells died after developing aggressive, metastasizing cancers that were similar to human ovarian carcinomas.

In future work, the researchers will look for stem cells and sources of cancer in transitional zones in the human ovary and other organs, such as the stomach, rectum and uterine cervix.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. The original article was written by Krishna Ramanujan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrea Flesken-Nikitin, Chang-Il Hwang, Chieh-Yang Cheng, Tatyana V. Michurina, Grigori Enikolopov, Alexander Yu. Nikitin. Ovarian surface epithelium at the junction area contains a cancer-prone stem cell niche. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature11979

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Origin of aggressive ovarian cancer discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306134400.htm>.
Cornell University. (2013, March 6). Origin of aggressive ovarian cancer discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306134400.htm
Cornell University. "Origin of aggressive ovarian cancer discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306134400.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins