High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most lethal gynecological malignancy that is primarily detected at the metastatic stage. Most HGSOC originates from the fallopian tube epithelium (FTE) and metastasizes to the ovary before invading the peritoneum; therefore, it is crucial to study disease initiation and progression using FTE-derived models. We previously demonstrated that loss of PTEN from the FTE leads to ovarian cancer. In the present study, loss of PTEN in FTE led to the enrichment of cancer stem cell markers such as LGR5, WNT4, ALDH1, CD44. Interestingly, loss of the transcription factor PAX2, which is a common and early alteration in HGSOC, played a pivotal role in the expression of cancer stem-like cells (CSC) markers and cell function. In addition, loss of PTEN led to the generation of two distinct subpopulations of cells with different CSC marker expression, tumorigenicity, and chemoresistance profiles. Taken together, these data suggest that loss of PTEN induces reprogramming of the FTE cells into a more stem-like phenotype due to loss of PAX2 and provides a model to study early events during the FTE-driven ovarian cancer tumor formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research