The behavior and genetics of serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) metastasis, the form of the disease lethal to patients, is poorly understood. The unique properties of metastases are critical to understand to improve treatments of the disease that remains in patients after debulking surgery. We sought to identify the genetic and phenotypic landscape of metastatic progression of EOC to understand how metastases compare to primary tumors. DNA copy number and mRNA expression differences between matched primary human tumors and omental metastases, collected at the same time during debulking surgery before chemotherapy, were measured using microarrays. qPCR and immunohistochemistry validated findings. Pathway analysis of mRNA expression revealed metastatic cancer cells are more proliferative and less apoptotic than primary tumors, perhaps explaining the aggressive nature of these lesions. Most cases had copy number aberrations (CNAs) that differed between primary and metastatic tumors, but we did not detect CNAs that are recurrent across cases. A six gene expression signature distinguishes primary from metastatic tumors and predicts overall survival in independent datasets. The genetic differences between primary and metastatic tumors, yet common expression changes, suggest that the major clone in metastases is not the same as in primary tumors, but the cancer cells adapt to the omentum similarly. Together, these data highlight how ovarian tumors develop into a distinct, more aggressive metastatic state that should be considered for therapy development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)