Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers

Research > Centre for Cancer Research > Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers

proteomicsOvarian Cancer Biomarkers

Research Group Head: Dr Andrew Stephens

With few recognisable symptoms and no early screening test, most ovarian tumours detected are already in the late stages with extensive tumour spread.

Our research group applies proteomics, biochemistry and molecular biology techniques to understand the biology of high grade, serous epithelial ovarian cancers, a highly aggressive and the most commonly diagnosed form of ovarian cancer. We are investigating the clinical efficacy of several newly identified biomarkers in pre-clinical studies, as well as a potential new adjunct therapy arising from our work. We are also examining several aspects of tumour progression and anti-tumour immunity using syngeneic mouse models of ovarian cancer.

We also run a clinical collection program, aimed at the provision of high-quality ovarian cancer tissue samples for research. This service has collected and processed tissue samples from over 1000 ovarian cancer patients for use in research. We work closely with gynaecological oncologists and surgeons, to achieve a true bench-to-bedside approach for translational research. Our ultimate goal is to improve the diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer.

Techniques commonly used in the group include 1D and 2D SDS PAGE and western blotting; mass spectrometry; imaging mass spectrometry; immunohistochemistry, immunoassay, protein labelling, cross-linking and immunoprecipitation; cloning and PCR; cell culture, animal surgery and in vivo fluorescence imaging.

Recent achievements of the group include:

– Development and validation of a novel 3-marker panel for the detection of early-stage tumours
– Identification of a previously unknown mechanism of immune evasion in high grade ovarian cancers that contributes to pathogenesis
– Design and development of a new mass-spectrometry based assay for cancer detection
– Development of new nano-tools to assist in protein purification and analysis

Current Research Projects:

Regulation of anti-tumour immunity through post-translational processing of chemokines
Dipeptidyl peptidases in ovarian tumours
Novel targets for the diagnosis and therapeutic management of ovarian cancer

Research Group:

Dr Andrew Stephens (Research Group Head)
Dr Adam Rainzczuk

Selected Publications:

Rainczuk A, Rao JR, Gathercole JL, Fairweather NJ, Chu S, Masadah R, Jobling TW, Stephens AN (2014). Evidence for the Antagonistic Form of CXC-motif Chemokine CXCL10 in Serous Epithelial Ovarian Tumours. Int J Cancer 134 530-41

Rainczuk A, Condina M, Pelzing M, Dolman S, Rao JR, Fairweather NJ, Jobling TW, Stephens AN (2013). The utility of isotope-coded protein labeling for prioritization of proteins found in ovarian cancer patient urine. J Prot Res 12 4074-4088

Rainczuk A, Rao J, Gathercole J, Stephens A.N. (2012). The emerging role of CXC chemokines in epithelial ovarian cancer. Reproduction 144 pp. 303-317

Adam Rainczuk, Katie Meehan, David L. Steer, Peter G. Stanton, David M. Robertson and Andrew N. Stephens (2010). An Optimized Procedure for the Capture, Fractionation and Proteomic Analysis of Proteins Using Hydrogel Nanoparticles. Proteomics 10 pp.332-336

Andrew N. Stephens, Natalie J. Hannan, Adam Rainczuk, Katie L. Meehan, Jenny Chen, Peter K. Nicholls, Luk J. F. Rombauts, Peter G. Stanton, David M. Robertson, Lois A. Salamonsen (2010). Post-Translational Modifications and Protein-Specific Isoforms in Endometriosis Revealed by 2D DIGE. J. Proteome Research 9, pp. 2438-2449