Scientists at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have identified various molecular pathways and transcription factors that are associated with overall survival in advanced-stage ovarian cancer.
The team was able to create an 86-gene ovarian cancer expression profile that discriminated between patients with unfavorable and favorable prognosis. The researchers were then able to confirm that 57 of the 86 genes were also correlated with survival in a second, entirely separate dataset.
Additionally, the investigators found that 17 out of 167 pathways and 13 out of 111 transcription factors were associated with overall survival, of which 16 and 12, respectively, were confirmed in the independent dataset.
For example, yhe team found that high expression of a gene encoding an FK506 binding protein—FKBP7—is associated with poor prognosis. This protein can be targeted with existing mTOR inhibitors. The authors acknowledge it is now important to carry out prospective studies to show that the signature performs effectively in a clinical setting.
The researchers initially profiled a series of tissue samples obtained during surgery to remove cancerous tissue from 157 consecutive patients in duplicate using almost 35,000 70-mer oligonucleotide microarrays.
The study is published this week in PLoS Medicine.