Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers

Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers Research Group

Research Group Head

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 proteomics; mass spectrometry; imaging mass spectrometry; immunohistochemistry, immunoassay, protein labelling, cross-linking and immunoprecipitation; western blotting; cloning and PCR; RNAseq; flow cytometry; cell culture, animal surgery and in vivo fluorescence imaging.

Recent achievements of the group include:

– Development of novel assays for the detection of gynaecological tumours
– Identification novel mechanisms of immune evasion in high grade ovarian cancers that contributes to pathogenesis

Current Research Projects:

– Role of Dipeptidyl Peptidases in ovarian cancer
– Development of novel therapies for ovarian cancer treatment
– Identifying biomarkers for improved diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Research Projects

Research Group

Selected publications

  • Heng S, Stephens AN, Jobling TW, Nie G (2016) Measuring PC activity in endocervical swab may provide a simple and non-invasive method to detect endometrial cancer in post-menopausal women. Oncotarget 7 (29) pp 46573-46578.

  • Zhang H, Maqsudi S, Rainczuk A et al (2015) Identification of novel dipeptidyl peptidase 9 substrates by two-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis. FEBS Journal 282 (19) pp 3737-3757.

  • Hunter SM, Anglesio MS, Ryland GL et al (2015) Molecular profiling of low grade serous ovarian tumours identifies novel candidate driver genes. Oncotarget 6 (35) pp 37665-37677.

  • 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.