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Spontaneous malignant transformation of human ovarian surface epithelial cells in vitro

Gregoire, L.; Rabah, R.; Schmelz, E.M.; Munkarah, A.; Roberts, P.C.; Lancaster, W.D.

Clinical Cancer Research An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 7(12): 4280-4287

2001


ISSN/ISBN: 1078-0432
PMID: 11751530
Accession: 035760794

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Epithelial ovarian cancer has no reliable marker for early detection and no known specific premalignant changes. Human ovarian surface epithelial (HOSE) cells expressing human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E6/E7 genes undergo crisis, and surviving cells exhibit an immortalized phenotype. Cells show an increasingly invasive phenotype on collagen rafts over time. To ascertain the nature of this aberrant growth, we characterized this spontaneous progression of HOSE cells from a benign to an invasive phenotype using histopathology, immunophenotyping, and tumorigenesis assays. At various passages, cells were monitored for growth on collagen, response to tumor necrosis factor alpha and daunorubicin, immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis of E-cadherin and beta-catenin, growth in soft agar, and tumor formation in immunodeficient mice. As passage number increased, cells became increasingly aggressive on collagen, with more pronounced focal stratification and invasion. Furthermore, late-passage cells were more resistant to the apoptotic effects of TNF-alpha and daunorubicin than earlier-passage cells. E-cadherin expression was limited to early-passage cells, whereas beta-catenin was expressed regardless of passage. Cells invading collagen formed colonies in soft agar at low efficiency but were not tumorigenic in immunodeficient mice. Some cultures recovered from colonies grew in soft agar at high efficiencies, and one was tumorigenic. HOSE cells expressing E6/E7, over time, develop characteristics of malignant cells and produce tumors consistent with an ovarian surface epithelium lineage. Progression of HOSE cells from a benign to an invasive phenotype in vitro may provide a model to dissect the progression of ovarian cancer.

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