Highly elevated platelet levels fuel tumor growth and reduce the survival of ovarian cancer patients, reports an MD Anderson-led international team of researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine.
By pinpointing a powerful cause-and-effect relationship at the heart of a century-old clinical observation, the team has revealed a new factor in cancer progression and new potential approaches for treatment.
“Our collaborative study not only identified a mechanism that explains platelet count elevation, but also connects this state, called thrombocytosis, to the severity of ovarian cancer,” says senior author Anil Sood, M.D., a professor in MD Anderson’s Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and Cancer Biology. “This suggests drugs that interfere with coagulation might be a useful addition to conventional therapies.”
Sood and colleagues drew on clinical data from ovarian cancer patients and followed up with mouse model experiments and a clinical trial.
Funding for this research came from the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation’s Gail MacNeil KOH Research Award, the National Cancer Institute, a Program Project Development Grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center Multidisciplinary Research Program, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, the Marcus Foundation Inc., the estate of C.G. Johnson Jr., the United Kingdom Medical Research Council, the Blanton–Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the RGK Foundation and the Bettyann Asche Murray Distinguished Professorship in Ovarian Cancer Research.