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1.  Inflammation-regulating factors in ascites as predictive biomarkers of drug resistance and progression-free survival in serous epithelial ovarian cancers 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:492.
Platinum-based combination therapy is the standard first-line treatment for women with advanced serous epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC). However, about 20 % will not respond and are considered clinically resistant. The availability of biomarkers to predict responses to the initial therapy would provide a practical approach to identify women who would benefit from a more appropriate first-line treatment. Ascites is an attractive inflammatory fluid for biomarker discovery as it is easy and minimally invasive to obtain. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether six selected inflammation-regulating factors in ascites could serve as diagnostic or drug resistance biomarkers in patients with advanced serous EOC.
A total of 53 women with stage III/IV serous EOC and 10 women with benign conditions were enrolled in this study. Eleven of the 53 women with serous EOC were considered clinically resistant to treatment with progression-free survival < 6 months. Ascites were collected at the time of the debulking surgery and the levels of cytokines were measured by ELISA. The six selected cytokines were evaluated for their ability to discriminate serous EOC from benign controls, and to discriminate platinum resistant from platinum sensitive patients.
Median ascites levels of IL-6, IL-10 and osteoprotegerin (OPG) were significantly higher in women with advanced serous EOC than in controls (P ≤ 0.012). There were no significant difference in the median ascites levels of leptin, soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) and CCL18 among serous EOC women and controls. In Receiver Operator curve (ROC) analysis, IL-6, IL-10 and OPG had a high area under the curve value of 0.905, 0.832 and 0.825 respectively for distinguishing EOC from benign controls. ROC analysis of individual cytokines revealed low discriminating potential to stratify patients according to their sensitivity to first-line treatment. The combination of biomarkers with the highest discriminating potential was with CA125 and leptin (AUC = 0.936, 95 % CI: 0.894–0.978).
IL-6 was found to be strongly associated with advanced serous EOC and could be used in combination with serum CA125 to discriminate benign and EOC. Furthermore, the combination of serum CA125 and ascites leptin was a strong predictor of clinical resistance to first-line therapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1511-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4486134  PMID: 26122176
Ascites; Ovarian cancer; Tumor microenvironment; Cytokines; Inflammation; Drug resistance
2.  Osteoprotegerin (OPG) activates integrin, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and Akt signaling in ovarian cancer cells to attenuate TRAIL-induced apoptosis 
Resistance to apoptosis is a major problem in ovarian cancer (OC) and correlates with poor prognosis. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a soluble secreted factor that acts as a decoy receptor for receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). OPG has been reported to attenuate TRAIL-induced apoptosis in a variety of cancer cells, including OC cells. OPG-mediated protection against TRAIL has been attributed to its decoy receptor function. However, OPG activates integrin/focal adhesion kinase (FAK) signaling in endothelial cells. In OC cells, activation of integrin/FAK signaling inhibits TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that OPG could attenuate TRAIL-induced apoptosis in OC cells through integrin/FAK signaling.
In vitro experiments including immunoblots, colony formation assays, and apoptosis measurements were used to assess the effect of OPG on TRAIL-induced apoptosis.
Exogenous OPG protected from TRAIL-induced apoptosis in a TRAIL binding-independent manner and OPG protection was αvβ3 and αvβ5 integrin/FAK signaling-dependent. Moreover, OPG-mediated activation of integrin/FAK signaling resulted in the activation of Akt. Inhibition of both integrin/FAK and Akt signaling significantly inhibited OPG-mediated attenuation of TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Although OPG also stimulated ERK1/2 phosphorylation, inhibition of ERK1/2 signaling did not significantly altered OPG protection.
Our studies provide evidence, for the first time, that OPG can attenuate TRAIL-induced apoptosis in a TRAIL binding-independent manner through the activation of integrin/FAK/Akt signaling in OC cells.
PMCID: PMC3874685  PMID: 24267510
Osteoprotegerin (OPG); TRAIL; Ovarian carcinoma; Resistance; Akt; Integrin; FAK
3.  Profiling of cytokines in human epithelial ovarian cancer ascites 
The behavior of tumor cells is influenced by the composition of the surrounding tumor environment. The importance of ascites in ovarian cancer (OC) progression is being increasingly recognized. The characterization of soluble factors in ascites is essential to understand how this environment affects OC progression. The development of cytokine arrays now allows simultaneous measurement of multiple cytokines per ascites using a single array.
We applied a multiplex cytokine array technology that simultaneously measures the level of 120 cytokines in ascites from 10 OC patients. The ascites concentration of a subset (n = 5) of cytokines that was elevated based on the multiplex array was validated by commercially available ELISA. The ascites level of these 5 cytokines was further evaluated by ELISA in a cohort of 38 patients. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to assess the association of cytokine expression with progression-free survival (PFS) in this cohort.
We observed a wide variability of expression between different cytokines and levels of specific cytokines also varied in the 10 malignant ascites tested. Fifty-three (44%) cytokines were not detected in any of the 10 ascites. The level of several factors including, among others, angiogenin, angiopoietin-2, GRO, ICAM-1, IL-6, IL-6R, IL-8, IL-10, leptin, MCP-1, MIF NAP-2, osteprotegerin (OPG), RANTES, TIMP-2 and UPAR were elevated in most malignant ascites. Higher levels of OPG, IL-10 and leptin in OC ascites were associated with shorter PFS. IL-10 was shown to promote the anti-apoptotic activity of malignant ascites whereas OPG did not.
Our data demonstrated that there is a complex network of cytokine expression in OC ascites. Characterization of cytokine profiles in malignant ascites may provide information from which to prioritize key functional cytokines and understand the mechanism by which they alter tumor cells behavior. A better understanding of the cytokine network is essential to determine the role of ascites in OC progression.
PMCID: PMC3433103  PMID: 22957308
Ascites; ovarian cancer; tumor environment; cytokines; mulitplex array; IL-10

Results 1-3 (3)