Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthroughs made in ovarian cancer research

Date:
August 8, 2014
Source:
A*Star Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Summary:
New clues to early detection and personalized treatment of ovarian cancer have been made by researchers. Ovarian cancer is currently one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose early due to the lack of symptoms that are unique to the illness. Successful treatment is difficult at this late stage, resulting in high mortality rates.

Scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and the Bioinformatics Institute (BII) have found new clues to early detection and personalised treatment of ovarian cancer, currently one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose early due to the lack of symptoms that are unique to the illness.

There are three predominant cancers that affect women -- breast, ovarian and womb cancer. Of the three, ovarian cancer is of the greatest concern as it is usually diagnosed only at an advanced stage due to the absence of clear early warning symptoms. Successful treatment is difficult at this late stage, resulting in high mortality rates. Ovarian cancer has increased in prevalence in Singapore as well as other developed countries recently. It is now the fifth most common cancer in Singapore amongst women, with about 280 cases diagnosed annually and 90 deaths per year.

Identifying Ovarian Cancer Earlier

IMB scientists have successfully identified a biomarker of ovarian stem cells, which may allow for earlier detection of ovarian cancer and thus allow treatment at an early stage of the illness.

The team has identified a molecule, known as Lgr5, on a subset of cells in the ovarian surface epithelium. Lgr5 has been previously used to identify stem cells in other tissues including the intestine and stomach, but this is the first time that scientists have successfully located this important biomarker in the ovary. In doing so, they have unearthed a new population of epithelial stem cells in the ovary which produce Lgr5 and control the development of the ovary. Using Lgr5 as a biomarker of ovarian stem cells, ovarian cancer can potentially be detected earlier, allowing for more effective treatment at an early stage of the illness (see Annex A). These findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology in July 2014.

Bioinformatics Analysis to Develop Personalized Treatment

Of the different types of ovarian cancers detected, high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HG-SOC) is the most prevalent of epithelial ovarian cancers. It has also proven to be one of the most lethal ovarian cancers, with only 30 per cent of such patients surviving more than five years after diagnosis[4]. HG-SOC remains poorly understood, with a lack of biomarkers identified for clinical use, from diagnosis to prognosis of patient survival rates.

By applying bioinformatics analysis on big cancer genomics data[5], BII scientists were able to identify genes whose mutation status could be used for prognosis and development of personalized treatment for HG-SOC.

The gene, Checkpoint Kinase 2 (CHEK2), has been identified as an effective prognostic marker of patient survival. HG-SOC patients with mutations in this gene succumbed to the disease within five years of diagnosis, possibly because CHEK2 mutations were associated with poor response to existing cancer therapies (see Annex B). These findings were published in Cell Cycle in July 2014.

Mortality after diagnosis currently remains high, as patients receive similar treatment options of chemotherapy and radiotherapy despite the diverse nature of tumour cells within tumours and across different tumour samples. With these findings, personalised medicine for ovarian cancer could be developed, with targeted treatment that would be optimised for subgroups of patients.

Prof Sir David Lane, Chief Scientist, A*STAR, said, "These findings show how the various research institutes at A*STAR offer their expertise in developing new approaches to examine different aspects of the same disease that have not been successfully studied before, such as ovarian cancer. The diverse capabilities and knowledge of our scientists allows us to investigate diseases holistically, from diagnosis to treatment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by A*Star Agency for Science, Technology and Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Ghim Siong Ow, Anna V Ivshina, Gloria Fuentes, Vladimir A Kuznetsov. Identification of two poorly prognosed ovarian carcinoma subtypes associated with CHEK2 germ-line mutation and non-CHEK2 somatic mutation gene signatures. Cell Cycle, 2014; 13 (14): 2262 DOI: 10.4161/cc.29271
  2. Annie Ng, Shawna Tan, Gurmit Singh, Pamela Rizk, Yada Swathi, Tuan Zea Tan, Ruby Yun-Ju Huang, Marc Leushacke, Nick Barker. Lgr5 marks stem/progenitor cells in ovary and tubal epithelia. Nature Cell Biology, 2014; 16 (8): 745 DOI: 10.1038/ncb3000

Cite This Page:

A*Star Agency for Science, Technology and Research. "Breakthroughs made in ovarian cancer research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140808111946.htm>.
A*Star Agency for Science, Technology and Research. (2014, August 8). Breakthroughs made in ovarian cancer research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140808111946.htm
A*Star Agency for Science, Technology and Research. "Breakthroughs made in ovarian cancer research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140808111946.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. 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