bims-ovdlit Biomed News
on Ovarian cancer: early diagnosis, liquid biopsy and therapy
Issue of 2023‒06‒04
seven papers selected by
Lara Paracchini
Humanitas Research

  1. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2023 May 29.
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Previous modeling data suggest ovarian conservation up to age 65 for women without adnexal disease and at average risk of ovarian cancer because of an increase in mortality associated with ovarian removal. Recent modeling data challenges this practice. This review of recent literature will update providers regarding consideration for oophorectomy at time of benign hysterectomy.RECENT FINDINGS: Oophorectomy at time of hysterectomy for women less than 50 years with estrogen supplementation and greater than 50 years without estrogen supplementation is not associated with increased mortality.
    SUMMARY: Although not associated with increased mortality, the decision to remove the ovaries at time of hysterectomy in women older than 50 years is nuanced and requires careful shared decision-making, considering unique patient factors.
  2. Nature. 2023 May 31.
      The earliest events during human tumour initiation, although poorly characterized, may hold clues to malignancy detection and prevention1. Here we model occult preneoplasia by biallelic inactivation of TP53, a common early event in gastric cancer, in human gastric organoids. Causal relationships between this initiating genetic lesion and resulting phenotypes were established using experimental evolution in multiple clonally derived cultures over 2 years. TP53 loss elicited progressive aneuploidy, including copy number alterations and structural variants prevalent in gastric cancers, with evident preferred orders. Longitudinal single-cell sequencing of TP53-deficient gastric organoids similarly indicates progression towards malignant transcriptional programmes. Moreover, high-throughput lineage tracing with expressed cellular barcodes demonstrates reproducible dynamics whereby initially rare subclones with shared transcriptional programmes repeatedly attain clonal dominance. This powerful platform for experimental evolution exposes stringent selection, clonal interference and a marked degree of phenotypic convergence in premalignant epithelial organoids. These data imply predictability in the earliest stages of tumorigenesis and show evolutionary constraints and barriers to malignant transformation, with implications for earlier detection and interception of aggressive, genome-instable tumours.
  3. Endocr Rev. 2023 Jun 01. pii: bnad018. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ovarian cancer (OC) represents a collection of rare but lethal gynecologic cancers where the difficultly of early detection due to an often-subtle range of abdominal symptoms contributes to high fatality rates. With the exception of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, OC most often manifests as a post-menopausal disease, a time in which the ovaries regress and circulating reproductive hormones diminish. Progesterone is thought to be a "protective" hormone that counters the proliferative actions of estrogen, as can be observed in the uterus or breast. Like other steroid hormone receptor (SR) family members, the transcriptional activity of the nuclear progesterone receptor (nPR) may be ligand-dependent or -independent and is fully integrated with other ubiquitous cell signaling pathways often altered in cancers. Emerging evidence in OC models challenges the singular protective role of progesterone/nPR. Herein, we integrate the historical perspective of progesterone on OC development and progression with exciting new research findings and critical interpretations to help paint a broader picture of the role of progesterone and nPR signaling in OC. We hope to alleviate some of the controversy around the role of progesterone and give insight into the importance of nPR actions in disease progression. A new perspective on the role of progesterone and nPR signaling integration will raise awareness to the complexity of nPRs and nPR-driven gene regulation in OC, help to reveal novel biomarkers, and lend critical knowledge for the development of better therapeutic strategies.
    Keywords:  BRCA1/2; fallopian tube; ovarian cancer; progesterone; progesterone receptor; transcription
  4. Nature. 2023 May 31.
      Each tumour contains diverse cellular states that underlie intratumour heterogeneity (ITH), a central challenge of cancer therapeutics1. Dozens of recent studies have begun to describe ITH by single-cell RNA sequencing, but each study typically profiled only a small number of tumours and provided a narrow view of transcriptional ITH2. Here we curate, annotate and integrate the data from 77 different studies to reveal the patterns of transcriptional ITH across 1,163 tumour samples covering 24 tumour types. Among the malignant cells, we identify 41 consensus meta-programs, each consisting of dozens of genes that are coordinately upregulated in subpopulations of cells within many tumours. The meta-programs cover diverse cellular processes including both generic (for example, cell cycle and stress) and lineage-specific patterns that we map into 11 hallmarks of transcriptional ITH. Most meta-programs of carcinoma cells are similar to those identified in non-malignant epithelial cells, suggesting that a large fraction of malignant ITH programs are variable even before oncogenesis, reflecting the biology of their cell of origin. We further extended the meta-program analysis to six common non-malignant cell types and utilize these to map cell-cell interactions within the tumour microenvironment. In summary, we have assembled a comprehensive pan-cancer single-cell RNA-sequencing dataset, which is available through the Curated Cancer Cell Atlas website, and leveraged this dataset to carry out a systematic characterization of transcriptional ITH.
  5. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2023 Jun 02.
      Given that cancer mortality is usually a result of late diagnosis, efforts in the field of early detection are paramount to reducing cancer-related deaths and improving patient outcomes. Increasing evidence indicates that metastasis is an early event in patients with aggressive cancers, often occurring even before primary lesions are clinically detectable. Metastases are usually formed from cancer cells that spread to distant non-malignant tissues via the blood circulation, termed circulating tumour cells (CTCs). CTCs have been detected in patients with early stage cancers and, owing to their association with metastasis, might indicate the presence of aggressive disease, thus providing a possible means to expedite diagnosis and treatment initiation for such patients while avoiding overdiagnosis and overtreatment of those with slow-growing, indolent tumours. The utility of CTCs as an early diagnostic tool has been investigated, although further improvements in the efficiency of CTC detection are required. In this Perspective, we discuss the clinical significance of early haematogenous dissemination of cancer cells, the potential of CTCs to facilitate early detection of clinically relevant cancers, and the technological advances that might improve CTC capture and, thus, diagnostic performance in this setting.
  6. Nat Rev Immunol. 2023 May 30.
      Tissue localization is a critical determinant of T cell immunity. CD8+ T cells are contact-dependent killers, which requires them to physically be within the tissue of interest to kill peptide-MHC class I-bearing target cells. Following their migration and extravasation into tissues, T cells receive many extrinsic cues from the local microenvironment, and these signals shape T cell differentiation, fate and function. Because major organ systems are variable in their functions and compositions, they apply disparate pressures on T cells to adapt to the local microenvironment. Additional complexity arises in the context of malignant lesions (either primary or metastatic), and this has made understanding the factors that dictate T cell function and longevity in tumours challenging. Moreover, T cell differentiation state influences how cues from the microenvironment are interpreted by tissue-infiltrating T cells, highlighting the importance of T cell state in the context of tissue biology. Here, we review the intertwined nature of T cell differentiation state, location, survival and function, and explain how dysfunctional T cell populations can adopt features of tissue-resident memory T cells to persist in tumours. Finally, we discuss how these factors have shaped responses to cancer immunotherapy.