BACKGROUND The mechanisms of paraneoplastic thrombocytosis in ovarian cancer and the role that platelets play in abetting cancer growth are unclear. METHODS We analyzed clinical data on 619 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer to test associations between platelet counts and disease outcome. Human samples and mouse models of epithelial ovarian cancer were used to explore the underlying mechanisms of paraneoplastic thrombocytosis. The effects of platelets on tumor growth and angiogenesis were ascertained. RESULTS Thrombocytosis was significantly associated with advanced disease and shortened survival. Plasma levels of thrombopoietin and interleukin-6 were significantly elevated in patients who had thrombocytosis as compared with those who did not. In mouse models, increased hepatic thrombopoietin synthesis in response to tumor-derived interleukin-6 was an underlying mechanism of paraneoplastic thrombocytosis. Tumor-derived interleukin-6 and hepatic thrombopoietin were also linked to thrombocytosis in patients. Silencing thrombopoietin and interleukin-6 abrogated thrombocytosis in tumor-bearing mice. Anti–interleukin-6 antibody treatment significantly reduced platelet counts in tumor-bearing mice and in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. In addition, neutralizing interleukin-6 significantly enhanced the therapeutic efficacy of paclitaxel in mouse models of epithelial ovarian cancer. The use of an antiplatelet antibody to halve platelet counts in tumor-bearing mice significantly reduced tumor growth and angiogenesis. CONCLUSIONS These findings support the existence of a paracrine circuit wherein increased production of thrombopoietic cytokines in tumor and host tissue leads to paraneoplastic thrombocytosis, which fuels tumor growth. We speculate that countering paraneoplastic thrombocytosis either directly or indirectly by targeting these cytokines may have therapeutic potential. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.)
Aldehyde dehydrogenase-1A1 (ALDH1A1) expression characterizes a subpopulation of cells with tumor-initiating or cancer stem cell properties in several malignancies. Our goal was to characterize the phenotype of ALDH1A1-positive ovarian cancer cells and examine the biological effects of ALDH1A1 gene silencing. In our analysis of multiple ovarian cancer cell lines, we found that ALDH1A1 expression and activity was significantly higher in taxane-and platinum-resistant cell lines. In patient samples, 72.9% of ovarian cancers had ALDH1A1 expression in which the percentage of ALDH1A1-positive cells correlated negatively with progression-free survival (6.05 vs. 13.81 months; P < 0.035). Subpopulations of A2780cp20 cells with ALDH1A1 activity were isolated for orthotopic tumor-initiating studies, where tumorigenicity was approximately 50-fold higher with ALDH1A1-positive cells. Interestingly, tumors derived from ALDH1A1-positive cells gave rise to both ALDH1A1-positive and ALDH1A1-negative populations, but ALDH1A1-negative cells could not generate ALDH1A1-positive cells. In an in vivo orthotopic mouse model of ovarian cancer, ALDH1A1 silencing using nanoliposomal siRNA sensitized both taxane-and platinum-resistant cell lines to chemotherapy, significantly reducing tumor growth in mice compared with chemotherapy alone (a 74%-90% reduction; P < 0.015). These data show that the ALDH1A1 subpopulation is associated with chemoresistance and outcome in ovarian cancer patients, and targeting ALDH1A1 sensitizes resistant cells to chemotherapy. ALDH1A1-positive cells have enhanced, but not absolute, tumorigenicity but do have differentiation capacity lacking in ALDH1A1-negative cells.
SUMMARY While VEGF-targeted therapies are showing promise, new angiogenesis targets are needed to make additional gains. Here, we show that increased Zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) expression in either tumor cells or in tumor vasculature is predictive of poor clinical outcome. The increase in endothelial EZH2 is a direct result of VEGF stimulation by a paracrine circuit that promotes angiogenesis by methylating and silencing vasohibin1 (VASH1). EZH2 silencing in the tumor-associated endothelial cells inhibited angiogenesis mediated by reactivation of VASH1, and reduced ovarian cancer growth, which is further enhanced in combination with EZH2 silencing in tumor cells. Collectively, these data support the potential for targeting EZH2 as an important therapeutic approach. SIGNIFICANCE In this work, we identify EZH2 as a key regulator of tumor angiogenesis. The increase in endothelial EZH2 is a direct result of VEGF stimulation and indicates the presence of a paracrine circuit that promotes angiogenesis. EZH2 silencing in the tumor-associated endothelial cells using siRNA, packaged in the chitosan delivery system, resulted in significant growth inhibition in an orthotopic ovarian cancer model. EZH2 silencing in tumor endothelial cells resulted in decreased angiogenesis that was mediated by increased levels of the angiogenesis inhibitor, vasohibin1 (VASH1). Combined, these data provide a significant conceptual advance in our understanding of the regulation of angiogenesis in ovarian carcinoma and support the potential for targeting EZH2 as a therapeutic approach.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful approach for silencing genes associated with a variety of pathologic conditions; however, in vivo RNAi delivery has remained a major challenge due to lack of safe, efficient, and sustained systemic delivery. Here, we report on a novel approach to overcome these limitations using a multistage vector composed of mesoporous silicon particles (stage 1 microparticles, S1MP) loaded with neutral nanoliposomes (dioleoyl phosphatidylcholine, DOPC) containing small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted against the EphA2 oncoprotein, which is overexpressed in most cancers, including ovarian. Our delivery methods resulted in sustained EphA2 gene silencing for at least 3 weeks in two independent orthotopic mouse models of ovarian cancer following a single i.v. administration of S1MP loaded with EphA2-siRNA-DOPC. Furthermore, a single administration of S1MP loaded with-EphA2-siRNA-DOPC substantially reduced tumor burden, angiogenesis, and cell proliferation compared with a noncoding control siRNA alone (SKOV3ip1, 54%; HeyA8, 57%), with no significant changes in serum chemistries or in proinflammatory cytokines. In summary, we have provided the first in vivo therapeutic validation of a novel, multistage siRNA delivery system for sustained gene silencing with broad applicability to pathologies beyond ovarian neoplasms.
SUMMARY Ovarian cancer has a clear predilection for metastasis to the omentum, but the underlying mechanisms involved in ovarian cancer spread are not well understood. Here, we used a parabiosis model that demonstrates preferential hematogenous metastasis of ovarian cancer to the omentum. Our studies revealed that the ErbB3-neuregulin1 (NRG1) axis is a dominant pathway responsible for hematogenous omental metastasis. Elevated levels of ErbB3 in ovarian cancer cells and NRG1 in the omentum allowed for tumor cell localization and growth in the omentum. Depletion of ErbB3 in ovarian cancer impaired omental metastasis. Our results highlight hematogenous metastasis as an important mode of ovarian cancer metastasis. These findings have implications for designing alternative strategies aimed at preventing and treating ovarian cancer metastasis.
We provide evidence supporting pre-and intra-operative management of patients undergoing gynecologic/oncology surgery. • This guideline will help integrate knowledge into practice, align perioperative care, and encourage future investigations.
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