Circulating tumor cells spread ovarian cancer through the bloodstream, homing in on the omentum, a sheath of abdominal fatty tissue, where it can grow and metastasize to other organs, MD Anderson scientists report in Cancer Cell. The circulating tumor cells rely on the receptor protein HER3 to find their way.
“This new way of thinking provides new potential avenues to predict and prevent recurrence or metastasis,” says senior author Anil Sood, M.D., professor of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and Cancer Biology.
HER3’s heavy presence on these cells makes it a biomarker candidate and suggests possible therapeutic options to thwart ovarian cancer progression, the researchers noted.
Funding came from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Foundation for Women’s Cancer, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, The Marcus Foundation, RGK Foundation, The Gilder Foundation, the Judi A. Rees Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Foundations, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel P. Gordon, the Ann Rife Cox Chair in Gynecology, the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program and
MD Anderson’s Small Animal Imaging Facility.