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P-cadherin in ovarian cancer : a novel marker for disease progression Patel, Ila Saroj


These studies have focused upon role(s) of the calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecules, known as the cadherins, in ovarian cancer. Recent studies have characterized one of the cadherins, E-cadherin, as a tumour suppressor gene. The normal human ovarian surface epithelium, as well as primary ovarian tumours, has been shown to express this cadherin subtype. Although E-cadherin expression levels are high in ovarian surface epithelial cells undergoing neoplastic transformation, there is a marked reduction in the expression levels of this cell adhesion molecule with progression to later stages of the disease state when the tumour cells acquire the ability to detach from the primary tumour. This in turn allows the cells to disseminate into the peritoneal cavity and subsequently interact with the mesothelial cells of the peritoneum. In our studies, we have found that P-cadherin is the predominant cadherin subtype present in ovarian tumor cell aggregates recovered from the ascites of patients. Interestingly, we have also determined that normal human peritoneal cells express P-cadherin which raises the possibility that this cell adhesion molecule plays an important role in the progression to the late stages of the disease state by mediating, at least in part, ovarian surface epithelial tumour-peritoneal cells interactions. We believe that these studies give us novel insight into the role(s) of the cadherins in ovarian cancer.

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