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Clin Cancer Res. 1995 Oct;1(10):1223-32.

Characterization of an ovarian cancer activating factor in ascites from ovarian cancer patients.

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Oncology Research, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C4, Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc., Mississauga, Ontario L4V IPI, Canada.


Ascites from ovarian cancer patients contain potent growth-promoting activity toward human ovarian cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. This activity is associated with rapid increases in cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]i) as a consequence of phosphoinositide hydrolysis. In this study, we describe the purification, characterization, and identification of an ovarian cancer activating factor (OCAF) from ascites of ovarian cancer patients. We have isolated OCAF by a combination of solvent extraction, silica gel chromatography, and TLC. Mass spectral analysis, phospholipase sensitivity, and gas chromatographic behavior of purified OCAF indicate that OCAF is composed of various species of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), including LPAs with polyunsaturated fatty acyl chains (linoleic, arachidonic, and docosahexaenoic acids). However, OCAF is more potent than sn-1 palmitoyl, oleoyl, or stearoyl LPA in increasing [Ca2+]i in ovarian cancer cells. The ability of OCAF to alter [Ca2+]i is sensitive to the effects of lipoxidase, whereas the activity of sn-1 oleoyl, stearoyl, or palmitoyl LPA is not, suggesting that polyunsaturated bonds in the fatty acyl chain of OCAF may account for its increased ability to activate ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, a sn-2 linoleoyl LPA generated by phospholipase A1 treatment of synthetic phosphatidic acid is much more active than are sn-1 palmitoyl, stearoyl, or oleoyl LPA in increasing [Ca2+]i in ovarian cancer cells. Taken together, these data suggest that the ability of OCAF to increase cellular calcium may reside in the structure and/or location of the fatty acyl chain of LPA. Purified OCAF, at concentrations similar to those present in ascites from ovarian cancer patients, was sufficient to induce proliferation of ovarian cancer cells, as indicated by thymidine incorporation, reduction of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide, or colony formation. However, even at optimal concentrations of OCAF, proliferation was lower than that induced by FCS or ascites from ovarian cancer patients, indicating that, although OCAF may be a major regulator of ovarian cancer cells in vivo, it is not the sole mediator present in ascites, and it likely functions in concert with other growth factor activities.

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