DANBURY, Conn. -- Researchers from the Danbury Hospital Biomedical Research Institute made a discovery between certain proteins and ovarian cancer, according to a press release.
The researchers discovered high expression levels of two proteins present in women with ovarian cancer who did not benefit from undergoing tumor-shrinking chemotherapy therapy before having surgery to remove their tumors.
Marisa Mariani, of the Danbury Hospital Biomedical Research Institute, and her colleagues, who published their results in OncoTarget, made this discovery using a two-pronged approach. It first explored possible markers of chemotherapy resistance at the microRNA and gene expression level, and then validated any markers of interest at the protein level.
“This approach is important because if you are eventually going to use a drug to target these markers, the drug will target the protein and not the gene,” Mariani said in a statement. “We had to confirm that what we were seeing at the gene level lead to a change at the protein level.”
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death for gynecologic malignancies. It is fatal for about 85 percent of women diagnosed in the advanced stage of the disease. Women with advanced disease sometimes undergo chemotherapy before surgery, called neoadjuvant chemotherapy, in an attempt to shrink the tumor.
“This type of discovery is very important because if patients undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy and the treatment has no effect, than it is often too late to perform surgery because the cancer has progressed,” senior author Dr. Cristiano Ferlini, who is also from Danbury Hospital Biomedical Research Institute, said in a statement. “This can help us to know upfront that these patients may not benefit from neoadjuvant therapy and can prevent them from undergoing this unnecessary treatment.”