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Sci Rep. 2014 Aug 19;4:6116. doi: 10.1038/srep06116.

Ovulation and extra-ovarian origin of ovarian cancer.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, South Korea.


The mortality rate of ovarian cancer remains high due to late diagnosis and recurrence. A fundamental step toward improving detection and treatment of this lethal disease is to understand its origin. A growing number of studies have revealed that ovarian cancer can develop from multiple extra-ovarian origins, including fallopian tube, gastrointestinal tract, cervix and endometriosis. However, the mechanism leading to their ovarian localization is not understood. We utilized in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models to recapitulate the process of extra-ovarian malignant cells migrating to the ovaries and forming tumors. We provided experimental evidence to support that ovulation, by disrupting the ovarian surface epithelium and releasing chemokines/cytokines, promotes the migration and adhesion of malignant cells to the ovary. We identified the granulosa cell-secreted SDF-1 as a main chemoattractant that recruits malignant cells towards the ovary. Our findings revealed a potential molecular mechanism of how the extra-ovarian cells can be attracted by the ovary, migrate to and form tumors in the ovary. Our data also supports the association between increased ovulation and the risk of ovarian cancer. Understanding this association will lead us to the development of more specific markers for early detection and better prevention strategies.

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