bims-ovdlit Biomed News
on Ovarian cancer: early diagnosis, liquid biopsy and therapy
Issue of 2021‒03‒07
sixteen papers selected by
Lara Paracchini
Humanitas Research

  1. Science. 2021 Mar 05. pii: eabc8697. [Epub ahead of print]371(6533):
      TP53 (tumor protein p53) is the most commonly mutated cancer driver gene, but drugs that target mutant tumor suppressor genes, such as TP53, are not yet available. Here, we describe the identification of an antibody highly specific to the most common TP53 mutation (R175H, in which arginine at position 175 is replaced with histidine) in complex with a common human leukocyte antigen-A (HLA-A) allele on the cell surface. We describe the structural basis of this specificity and its conversion into an immunotherapeutic agent: a bispecific single-chain diabody. Despite the extremely low p53 peptide-HLA complex density on the cancer cell surface, the bispecific antibody effectively activated T cells to lyse cancer cells that presented the neoantigen in vitro and in mice. This approach could in theory be used to target cancers containing mutations that are difficult to target in conventional ways.
  2. Klin Onkol. 2021 ;34(1): 26-32
      Ovarian cancer is one of the most common gynecologic cancers with the highest mortality rate over a long period. Genetic predisposition to ovarian cancer is unusually high. In the Czech Republic, causal mutation in any ovarian cancer predisposition gene is identified in approximately 30% of the ovarian cancer patients. Therefore, according to the current guidelines, all ovarian cancer patients should be provided with genetic testing. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the two major ovarian cancer predisposition genes. Nevertheless, mutations in other predisposition genes, including RAD51C and RAD51D, are associated with high ovarian cancer risk. Mutations in RAD51C and RAD51D are found in 1% of ovarian cancer patients in each respective gene. Currently, identification of germline mutation in RAD51C and RAD51D is primarily of preventive importance but it potentially could make a prognostic difference. The aim of this review is to summarize the recent RAD51C and RAD51D knowledge, including the biological function, cancer risks associated with germline mutations, and recommendations for mutation carriers.
    Keywords:  DNA repair; cancer genes; genetic testing; mutation; next gen sequencing; next generation sequencing; ovarian cancer; ovarian neoplasms
  3. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 28. pii: 1004. [Epub ahead of print]13(5):
      Germline BRCA mutations result in homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, as well as several types of sporadic tumors. The HRD phenotype makes these tumors sensitive to DNA double strand break-inducing agents, including poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. Interestingly, a subgroup of cancers without a BRCA mutation also shows an HRD phenotype. Various methods for selecting patients with HRD tumors beyond BRCA-mutations have been explored. These methods are mainly based on DNA sequencing or functional characteristics of the tumor. We here discuss the various tests and the status of their clinical validation.
    Keywords:  BRCAness; DNA double strand breaks; DNA repair; HRD; PARP inhibitors
  4. Cells. 2021 Feb 18. pii: 437. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      The hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis is the endocrine regulation system that controls the woman's cycle. The gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) plays the central role. In addition to the gonadotrophic cells of the pituitary, GnRH receptors are expressed in other reproductive organs, such as the ovary and in tumors originating from the ovary. In ovarian cancer, GnRH is involved in the regulation of proliferation and metastasis. The effects on ovarian tumors can be indirect or direct. GnRH acts indirectly via the HPG axis and directly via GnRH receptors on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. In this systematic review, we will give an overview of the role of GnRH in ovarian cancer development, progression and therapy.
    Keywords:  GnRH; LHRH; gonadotropin-releasing hormone; ovarian cancer
  5. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 17. pii: 838. [Epub ahead of print]13(4):
      Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy and has few reliable non-invasive tests for early detection or diagnosis. Recent advances in genomic techniques have bolstered the utility of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) evaluation from peripheral blood as a viable cancer biomarker. For multiple reasons, comparing alterations in DNA methylation is particularly advantageous over other molecular assays. We performed a literature review for studies exploring cfDNA methylation in serum and plasma for the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The data suggest that serum/plasma cfDNA methylation tests have strong diagnostic accuracies for ovarian cancer (median 85%, range 40-91%). Moreover, there is improved diagnostic performance if multiple genes are used and if the assays are designed to compare detection of ovarian cancer with benign pelvic masses. We further highlight the vast array of possible gene targets and techniques, and a need to include more earlier-stage ovarian cancer samples in test development. Overall, we show the promise of cfDNA methylation analysis in the development of a viable diagnostic biomarker for ovarian cancer.
    Keywords:  biomarkers; cell-free DNA; early detection; epigenetics; liquid biopsy; methylation; ovarian cancer; scoping review
  6. Gynecol Oncol. 2021 Mar 02. pii: S0090-8258(21)00173-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      OBJECTIVES: To determine if the mutational landscapes and genomic features of homologous recombination DNA repair defects (HRD) vary between younger and older patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC).METHODS: Younger and older women were defined as bottom and top age quartiles, respectively. HGSOCs from 15 younger (median 49 years, range 35-53) and 15 older women (median 72 years, range 70-87) were subjected to whole-exome sequencing (WES). For validation, HGSOC WES data were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), including 38 younger (median 45 years, range 34-50) and 30 older women (median 74 years, range 68-84). Mutational profiles, BRCA1/2 status, genomic HRD features, and for TCGA cases RNA-sequencing-based HRD transcriptomic signatures were assessed.
    RESULTS: In the institutional cohort, pathogenic germline BRCA1/2 mutations were more frequent in younger (5/15) than older women (0/15, p = 0.042). No somatic BRCA1/2 mutations were identified. HGSOCs from older patients preferentially displayed aging-related mutational signatures and, in contrast to younger patients, harbored CCNE1 amplifications (3/15, 20%). In the TCGA cohort, pathogenic germline BRCA1 (younger 8/38, older 0/30, p = 0.007) but not BRCA2 mutations (young 3/38, older 4/30, p = 0.691) were more frequent in younger patients. Again, no somatic BRCA1/2 mutations were identified. HGSOCs from younger women more frequently displayed genomic features of HRD (all, p < 0.05), a significant HRD gene-signature enrichment, but less frequently CCNE1 amplification (p = 0.05). Immunoreactive CLOVAR subtypes were more common in HGSOCs from younger women, and proliferative subtypes in HGSOCs from older women (p = 0.041).
    CONCLUSIONS: HGSOC patients diagnosed at an older age less frequently harbor pathogenic BRCA1 germline mutations and genomic features of HRD than younger women. Individualized treatment options, particularly pertaining to use of PARP inhibitors, in older women may be warranted.
    Keywords:  BRCA1/2; Extreme of ages; Homologous recombination DNA repair deficiency; Molecular profiles; Ovarian cancer; PARP inhibitor
  7. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Mar 01. 4(3): e210307
      Importance: Rates of breast and ovarian cancer are high in the Caribbean; however, to date, few published data quantify the prevalence of inherited cancer in the Caribbean population.Objective: To determine whether deleterious variants in genes that characterize the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome are associated with the development of breast and ovarian cancer in the English- and Creole-speaking Caribbean populations.
    Design, Setting, and Participants: This multisite genetic association study used data from germline genetic test results between June 2010 and June 2018 in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago. Next-generation sequencing on a panel of 30 genes and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (BRCA1 and BRCA2) were performed. Medical records were reviewed at time of study enrollment. Women and men diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer with at least 1 grandparent born in the participating study sites were included; 1018 individuals were eligible and consented to participate in this study. Data were analyzed from November 4, 2019, to May 6, 2020.
    Exposures: Breast and/or ovarian cancer diagnosis.
    Main Outcomes and Measures: Rate of inherited breast and ovarian cancer syndrome and spectrum and types of variants.
    Results: Of 1018 participants, 999 (98.1%) had breast cancer (mean [SD] age, 46.6 [10.8] years) and 21 (2.1%) had ovarian cancer (mean [SD] age, 47.6 [13.5] years). Three individuals declined to have their results reported. A total of 144 of 1015 (14.2%) had a pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P/LP) variant in a hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome gene. A total of 64% of variant carriers had P/LP variant in BRCA1, 23% in BRCA2, 9% in PALB2 and 4% in RAD51C, CHEK2, ATM, STK11 and NBN. The mean (SD) age of variant carriers was 40.7 (9.2) compared with 47.5 (10.7) years in noncarriers. Individuals in the Bahamas had the highest proportion of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (23%), followed by Barbados (17.9%), Trinidad (12%), Dominica (8.8%), Haiti (6.7%), Cayman Islands (6.3%), and Jamaica (4.9%). In Caribbean-born women and men with breast cancer, having a first- or second-degree family member with breast cancer was associated with having any BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline variant (odds ratio, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.24-2.01; P < .001). A BRCA1 vs BRCA2 variant was more strongly associated with triple negative breast cancer (odds ratio, 6.33; 95% CI, 2.05-19.54; P = .001).
    Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, among Caribbean-born individuals with breast and ovarian cancer, 1 in 7 had hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The proportion of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer varied by island and ranged from 23% in the Bahamas to 4.9% in Jamaica. Each island had a distinctive set of variants.
  8. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 624498
      SPR965 is an inhibitor of PI3K and mTOR C1/C2 and has demonstrated anti-tumorigenic activity in a variety of solid tumors. We sought to determine the effects of SPR965 on cell proliferation and tumor growth in human serous ovarian cancer cell lines and a transgenic mouse model of high grade serous ovarian cancer (KpB model) and identify the underlying mechanisms by which SPR965 inhibits cell and tumor growth. SPR965 showed marked anti-proliferative activity by causing cell cycle arrest and inducing cellular stress in ovarian cancer cells. Treatment with SPR965 significantly inhibited tumor growth in KpB mice, accompanied by downregulation of Ki67 and VEGF and upregulation of Bip expression in ovarian tumors. SPR965 also inhibited adhesion and invasion through induction of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition process. As expected, downregulation of phosphorylation of AKT and S6 was observed in SPR965-treated ovarian cancer cells and tumors. Our results suggest that SPR965 has significant anti-tumorigenic effects in serous ovarian cancer in vitro and in vivo. Thus, SPR965 should be evaluated as a promising targeted agent in future clinical trials of ovarian cancer.
    Keywords:  SPR965; cell proliferation; cell stress; invasion; ovarian cancer
  9. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 18. pii: 849. [Epub ahead of print]13(4):
      The aim of the study was to analyze the frequency and magnitude of association of 21 recurrent founder germline mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, RAD51C, and CHEK2 genes with ovarian cancer risk among unselected patients in Poland. We genotyped 21 recurrent germline mutations in BRCA1 (9 mutations), BRCA2 (4 mutations), RAD51C (3 mutations), PALB2 (2 mutations), and CHEK2 (3 mutations) among 2270 Polish ovarian cancer patients and 1743 healthy controls, and assessed the odds ratios (OR) for developing ovarian cancer for each gene. Mutations were detected in 369 out of 2095 (17.6%) unselected ovarian cancer cases and 117 out of 1743 (6.7%) unaffected controls. The ovarian cancer risk was associated with mutations in BRCA1 (OR = 40.79, 95% CI: 18.67-114.78; p = 0.29 × 10-15), in BRCA2 (OR = 25.98; 95% CI: 1.55-434.8; p = 0.001), in RAD51C (OR = 6.28; 95% CI 1.77-39.9; p = 0.02), and in PALB2 (OR 3.34; 95% CI: 1.06-14.68; p = 0.06). There was no association found for CHEK2. We found that pathogenic mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, RAD51C or PALB2 are responsible for 12.5% of unselected cases of ovarian cancer. We recommend that all women with ovarian cancer in Poland and first-degree female relatives should be tested for this panel of 18 mutations.
    Keywords:  BRCA1; BRCA2; CHEK2; PALB2; RAD51C; cancer risk; ovarian cancer; recurrent mutations
  10. J Clin Med. 2021 Feb 21. pii: 879. [Epub ahead of print]10(4):
      BACKGROUND: Survivin belongs to the protein family of inhibitors of apoptosis (IAP) and is a regulator of the cell cycle and apoptosis. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical and prognostic significance of expression survivin in patients with ovarian cancer.METHODS: We systematically searched for articles in PubMed, the American Chemical Society (Publications), Medline, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Scopus and the Web of Science. Patient clinical data, overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), and survivin expression were extracted from individual studies. We performed statistical analysis using the STATA 16 package. Eighteen publications containing data from 2233 patients with ovarian cancer were included in this meta-analysis.
    RESULTS: We found an adverse effect of survivin expression on OS (risk ratio (HR): 1.60; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.33-1.93, p = 0.00) but this was not observed on DFS (HR: 1.06; 95% CI: 0.55-2.05, p = 0.87). The analysis of clinicopathological parameters showed that survivin expression was associated with the histological grades (G1-2 vs. G3) (odds ratio (OR) = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.34-0.83, p = 0.01) and: International Federation Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage (I-II vs. III-IV) (OR = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.09-0.55, p = 0.00), but it was not significantly correlated with the histological subtype (OR = 1.14, 95% CI: 0.83-1.58, p = 0.42).
    CONCLUSIONS: Our meta-analysis suggests that survivin expression may be a marker of poor prognosis in ovarian cancer. Survivin expression was associated with parameters of greater aggressiveness of ovarian cancer. Prospective studies are needed to confirm our results indicating that survivin expression can be used as an ovarian cancer biomarker.
    Keywords:  meta-analysis; ovarian cancer; prognostic factor; survivin
  11. ESMO Open. 2021 Feb 26. pii: S2059-7029(21)00015-6. [Epub ahead of print]6(2): 100060
      Precision medicine is now pivotal to design patients' specific treatment strategies with the aim of prolonging progression and overall survival. In this regard, invasive tumor tissue testing has so far been the golden standard for making cancer diagnosis, but has limitations. Cell-free tumor DNA (ctDNA), a form of liquid biopsy, is a noninvasive biomarker that can be isolated from patients' blood and other biofluids. An increasing body of evidence has demonstrated clinical utility of plasma ctDNA profiling to select patients for genomic-driven therapies. Analyses of mutations in plasma ctDNA have shown high accuracy and more rapid identification of mutations, allowing matching patients for specific therapies with equivalent clinical efficacy to that of the tissue profiling. In the clinical setting, ctDNA has been recently implemented to select patients with specific genomic alterations to targeted treatments, and a few molecular tests have been approved for use in non-small-cell lung, prostate, ovarian, and breast cancers. However, standardization of ctDNA collection, storage, and analysis methods would be critical to facilitate the wide adoption of ctDNA technology in routine clinical practice. This review summarizes how we can exploit ctDNA analysis to treat cancer patients, and explains how the results should be interpreted. In addition, we focus on how ctDNA could be used in the future as a marker of minimal residual disease to guide adjuvant therapy, as an immuno-oncology biomarker in patients treated with immune checkpoint blockade drugs, and as an early cancer detection marker to screen the asymptomatic population.
    Keywords:  cancer treatment; circulating tumor DNA; early detection; genomics; liquid biopsy; next generation sequencing; noninvasive
  12. Genes (Basel). 2021 Feb 27. pii: 349. [Epub ahead of print]12(3):
      The minimally-or non-invasive detection of circulating tumor-derived components in biofluids, such as blood, liquid biopsy is a revolutionary approach with significant potential for the management of cancer. Genomic and transcriptomic alterations can be accurately detected through liquid biopsies, which provide a more comprehensive characterization of the heterogeneous tumor profile than tissue biopsies alone. Liquid biopsies could assist diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment selection, and hold great potential to complement current surveilling strategies to monitor disease evolution and treatment response in real-time. In particular, these are able to detect minimal residual disease, to predict progression, and to identify mechanisms of resistance, allowing to re-orient treatment strategies in a timelier manner. In this review we gathered current knowledge regarding the role and potential of liquid biopsies for the diagnosis and follow-up of cancer patients. The presented findings emphasize the strengths of liquid biopsies, revealing their chance of improving the diagnosis and monitoring of several tumor types in the near future. However, despite growing evidence supporting their value as a management tool in oncology, some limitations still need to be overcome for their implementation in the routine clinical setting.
    Keywords:  cancer; cell-free DNA; circulating tumor cells; diagnosis; liquid biopsies; monitoring; precision medicine; prognosis
  13. Radiol Oncol. 2021 Mar 05.
      BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women worldwide and the eighth most common cause of cancer death. Due to the lack of effective early detection strategies and the unspecific onset of symptoms, it is diagnosed at an advanced stage in 75% of cases. The cancer antigen (CA) 125 is used as a prognostic marker and its level is elevated in more than 85% of women with advanced stages of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). The standard treatment is primary debulking surgery (PDS) followed by adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT), but the later approach is neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) followed by interval debulking surgery (IDS). Several studies have been conducted to find out whether preoperative CA-125 serum levels influence treatment choice, surgical resection and survival outcome. The aim of our study was to analyse experience of single institution as Cancer comprehensive center with preoperative usefulness of CA-125.PATIENTS AND METHODS: At the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana a retrospective analysis of 253 women with stage FIGO IIIC and IV ovarian cancer was conducted. Women were divided into two groups based on their primary treatment. The first group was the NACT group (215 women) and the second the PDS group (38 women). The differences in patient characteristics were compared using the Chi-square test and ANOVA and the Kaplan-Meier method was used for calculating progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).
    RESULTS: The median serum CA-125 level was higher in the NACT group than in the PDS group, 972 IU/ml and 499 IU/ ml, respectively. The PFS in the NACT group was 8 months (95% CI 6.4-9.5) and 18 months (95% CI 12.5-23.4) in the PDS group. The median OS was lower in the NACT group than in the PDS group, 25 months (95% CI 20.6-29.5) and 46 months (95% CI 32.9-62.1), respectively.
    CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative CA-125 cut off value of 500 IU/ml is a promising threshold to predict a successful PDS.
    Keywords:  CA-125; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; ovarian cancer; primary debulking surgery; tumour marker