Scientists at Lawson Health Research Institute1 have uncovered an important new target for ovarian cancer therapy. Contrary to current research, this new study found that LKB1, a molecule that regulates the metabolism of many adult cells, is important in the cancer's promotion and survival. These findings were published by Peart et al in Oncotarget.
Even though ovarian cancer continues to be one of the most serious of women's cancers, there is a lack in reliable early detection tests and few treatment options. By the time of diagnosis, the majority of women with ovarian cancer already have experienced extensive metastasis, which makes it difficult to treat by surgery or chemotherapy. According to Trevor Shepherd, PhD, what is even more concerning is the propensity of the disease to keep coming back until it is eventually resistant to therapy.
In order to find out how and why ovarian cancer cells grow and take on such lethal characteristics, Dr. Shepherd and his team grow these cancer cells in three-dimensional structures called “spheroids”—the same way the cancer cells grow in patients. Spheroids are sticky and can attach themselves to different organs, such as the uterus, liver, stomach, or small intestine. Here, they can sit dormant and unnoticed for months or years before gro...