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Last Updated: 02/06/19

Ovarian SPOREs

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecological cancer in women but ranks first (above endometrial cancer) in cancer deaths. Approximately 22,240 new ovarian cancers will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018, and about 14,070 women will die from this disease. Recent large clinical studies of various chemotherapy regimens for ovarian cancer showed little to no increase in progression free survival and no improvement in overall survival. Diagnosis is difficult due to an overall lack of early symptoms or screening methods for the disease. Thus, patients present at advanced tumor stage with aggressive ovarian cancer and vigorous tumor-induced immune suppression. Most patients who respond to surgery and chemotherapy relapse. Women with a family history of either breast, ovarian, or non-polyposis colon cancer are at an increased risk for developing ovarian cancer.

The Ovarian Cancer SPORE program was initiated in 1999. Research areas cover a wide scope including early detection, imaging technologies, risk assessment, immunosuppression and novel therapeutic approaches. Translational projects explore cellular and molecular signaling pathways including SYK, ATR, PARP, PKCi, VEGF, and SIK2, leading to personalized and combined therapies. This includes developing additional therapies to reverse resistance to chemotherapy agents such as platinum. An expanding area of research is in harnessing the immune system for specific targeting of cancer cells including immunotherapy, vaccine therapy, oncolytic viruses, and enhancing tumor immunity. Through collaboration the ovarian SPORE researchers share expertise, ideas, and help with clinical accrual of patients.