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Oncogene. 2006 Oct 12;25(47):6336-44. Epub 2006 May 29.

Nuclear-mitochondrial genomic profiling reveals a pattern of evolution in epithelial ovarian tumor stem cells.

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  • 1National Centre for Cell Science, Ganeshkhind, Pune, Maharashtra, India.


Analyses of genome orthologs in cancer on the background of tumor heterogeneity, coupled with the recent identification that the tumor propagating capacity resides within a very small fraction of cells (the tumor stem cells-TSCs), has not been achieved. Here, we describe a strategy to explore genetic drift in the mitochondrial genome accompanying varying stem cell dynamics in epithelial ovarian cancer. A major and novel outcome is the identification of a specific mutant mitochondrial DNA profile associated with the TSC lineage that is drastically different from the germ line profile. This profile, however, is often camouflaged in the primary tumor, and sometimes may not be detected even after metastases, questioning the validity of whole tumor profiling towards determining individual prognosis. Continuing mutagenesis in subsets with a mutant mitochondrial genome could result in transformation through a cooperative effect with nuclear genes - a representative example in our study is a tumor suppressor gene viz. cAMP responsive element binding binding protein. This specific profile could be a critical predisposing step undertaken by a normal stem cell to overcome a tightly regulated mutation rate and DNA repair in its evolution towards tumorigenesis. Our findings suggest that varying stem cell dynamics and mutagenesis define TSC progression that may clinically translate into increasing tumor aggression with serious implications for prognosis.

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