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Early events in ovarian oncogenesis

DOI: 10.1186/1477-7827-1-68

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Abstract:

The term ovarian cancer applies in general to malignant tumors arising from the modified peritoneal mesothelium that covers the surface of the ovary [1]. These epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC) make up 90% of all human ovarian malignant tumors and display a wide range of histological features, usually recapitulating the morphology of the endocervix, endometrium, or Fallopian tubes that are embriologically related to the surface epithelium [2,3]. Ovarian cancer is the most prevalent cause of death from a gynecological malignancy among women in the Western world, primarily reflecting the fact that it produces vague symptoms, resulting in diagnosis at an advanced stage [4]. In contrast to breast cancer, where most cases are detected at an early stage, only 25% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at stage I, when the cure rate is almost 90%. The cure rate for ovarian cancer diagnosed at an advanced stage is less than 20% [5]. Ovarian cancer mortality has not significantly decreased due to our poor understanding of the underlying biology, which in turn has contributed to a lack of reliable biomarkers for disease detection. Therefore, endeavors to improve survival continue to focus on the development of novel chemotherapeutic agents and strategies for earlier detection and prevention of this devastating disease [6].There are many difficulties associated with studying early events in ovarian oncogenesis. Only few suitable in vitro and in vivo models of ovarian neoplasms have been described thus far. The most commonly used experimental animals do not develop EOC. They instead get non-epithelial (sex cord-stromal or germ cell) ovarian tumors, whose underlying biology is ultimately different from that of EOC. The methodology to culture human ovarian surface epithelium (OSE), which presumably gives rise to EOC, has become accessible only recently [7,8]. Human OSE (HOSE) cells are especially fragile and, being easily removed by handling the ovary or allowing it to dry, are often ab

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