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The role of epithelial-to-mesenchymal plasticity in ovarian cancer progression and therapy resistance

  • Loret, Nele
  • Denys, Hannelore
  • Tummers, Philippe
  • Berx, Geert
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all gynecologic malignancies and the eighth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. The main reasons for this poor prognosis are late diagnosis; when the disease is already in an advanced stage, and the frequent development of resistance to current chemotherapeutic regimens. Growing evidence demonstrates that apart from its role in ovarian cancer progression, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) can promote chemotherapy resistance. In this review, we will highlight the contribution of EMT to the distinct steps of ovarian cancer progression. In addition, we will review the different types of ovarian cancer resistance to therapy with particular attention to EMT-mediated mechanisms such as cell fate transitions, enhancement of cancer cell survival, and upregulation of genes related to drug resistance. Preclinical studies of anti-EMT therapies have yielded promising results. However, before anti-EMT therapies can be effectively implemented in clinical trials, more research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms leading to EMT-induced therapy resistance.

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