Protein CK5 a Marker for Cisplatin-Resistant Ovarian Cancer

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A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published by Corr et al in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer1 shows that protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), known to be a marker of poor prognosis in breast cancer, also marks ovarian cancers likely to be resistant to the common chemotherapy cisplatin.

“Cisplatin is one of the mainstays of ovarian cancer treatment. We know that ovarian cancers may develop resistance to cisplatin, and when that happens, the clinical course can take a turn for the worse,” said Bradley Corr, MD, Gynecologic Oncology Fellow at University of Colorado Hospital, who collaborated on the study with the laboratory of Carol A. Sartorius, PhD, Investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

CK5 is a structural protein involved in forming the cytoskeleton of epithelial cells. Cells with cytoskeletons that include high levels of CK5 are likely to be progenitor or “stem-like” cells, able to produce many kinds of mature tissue cells. In cancer, these cells are undesirable, as they can reform a tumor after treatment. Previous work by the Sartorius lab has shown the protein to be a marker of poor prognosis in estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer. The current study extends this finding to ovarian cancer.

“There's a big push to detect ovarian cancer early through screening. And the other big push is in understanding the mechanisms of platinum resistance. This study could ...