Expression profiling of primary and metastatic ovarian tumors reveals differences indicative of aggressive disease

Alexander S. Brodsky, Andrew Fischer, Daniel H. Miller, Souriya Vang, Shannon MacLaughlan, Hsin Ta Wu, Jovian Yu, Margaret Steinhoff, Colin Collins, Peter J.S. Smith, Benjamin J. Raphael, Laurent Brard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere94476
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 14 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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