Latest News on Ovarian Cancer: Dec 2020

Latest News on Ovarian Cancer: Dec 2020

The biology of ovarian cancer

The biology of ovarian cancer broadly defined covers essentially all aspects of the disease from how it arises to how it responds to chemotherapy, often becomes refractory to treatment, and ultimately kills the patient. In this article, we take the liberty of discussing many of these issues to some degree in context of the “natural/clinical” history/biology of the disease. We focus on concepts of how the disease develops, efforts to identify histologic changes that may precede the development of overt ovarian cancer, efforts to define how the growth and function of the normal ovarian surface epithelium are regulated to gain insights into how aberrant function of these pathways may contribute to the initiation of the disease, molecular biological studies on clinical ovarian cancer specimens, efforts to experimentally induce the malignant transformation of ovarian surface epithelial cells, and efforts to understand why ovarian cancer is often initially responsive to chemotherapy but ultimately becomes refractory. [1]

Epidemiology of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer represents the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the world, and causes more deaths per year than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Despite the high incidence and mortality rates, the etiology of this disease is poorly understood. Established risk factors for ovarian cancer include age and having a family history of the disease, while protective factors include increasing parity, oral contraceptive use, and oophorectomy. Lactation, incomplete pregnancies, and surgeries such as hysterectomy and tubal ligation may confer a weak protective effect against ovarian cancer. Infertility may contribute to ovarian cancer risk among nulliparous women. Other possible risk factors for ovarian cancer include postmenopausal hormone-replacement therapy and lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. Many of the causes of ovarian cancer are yet to be identified. Additional research is needed to better understand the etiology of this deadly disease. [2]

Rethinking ovarian cancer: recommendations for improving outcomes

There have been major advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular biology of the human malignancies that are collectively referred to as ovarian cancer. At a recent Helene Harris Memorial Trust meeting, an international group of researchers considered actions that should be taken to improve the outcome for women with ovarian cancer. Nine major recommendations are outlined in this Opinion article. [3]

Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness and Its Response among Female Health Workers

Objectives: To determine the level of awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms and help-seeking responses of female health workers.

Methods: Four hundred and fifty seven female health workers were randomly selected and made to complete a structured proforma adapted from the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Measure (Ovarian CAM), which is a site-specific version of the generic Cancer Awareness Measure. Questions were asked on level of awareness of ovarian cancer early symptoms, anticipated time and the barriers to help-seeking responses.

Results: Out of 457 clients, 211 (46.2%) were able to recall at least one warning symptom of ovarian cancer while 20 (4.4%) were able to recall more than 3 warning symptoms. On the other end, when presented with a list of warning symptoms of ovarian cancer, identification ranged from 33.7-72.0% for the symptoms. As high as 28.0% could not identify any of the listed warning symptoms though some of them are also well known symptoms of late stage of ovarian cancer as well. A range of 11.7 – 27.3% of those who have ever seen a cancer patient before will seek for immediate medical help for various ovarian cancer symptoms. Also, having experienced a form of cancer before showed no relationship with the identification of all the warning signs of ovarian cancer outlined (P value ranged from .15 to .93).

Conclusion: The level of awareness of ovarian cancer warning symptomsis very low among the female health workers, and there is a poor medical help seeking habit even among those that could identify those symptoms. Efforts at improving these factors are therefore recommended. [4]

Cytotoxic and Apoptotic Effects of the Bark of Two Common Mango (Mangifera indica) Varieties from Sri Lanka on Breast and Ovarian Cancer Cells

Aims: The present study was planned to evaluate cytotoxic and apoptotic properties of the bark of two common mango varieties (Mangifera indica L.) grown in Sri Lanka [Rata Amba (RA) and Karthakolomban (KA)] in MCF-7 (ER positive breast cancer), MDA-MB-231 (triple negative breast cancer), SKOV-3 (ovarian epithelial cancer) cancer cell lines and normal mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A).

Place and Duration of the Study: At the Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Colombo between 1st of February 2015 to April 2015.

Methodology: Cancer cells and normal cells were treated with organic extracts (hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate and methanol) of RA and KA bark and cytotoxic effects were evaluated by SRB assay. Free radical scavenging ability on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) was also tested for active extracts. Furthermore, apoptotic effects of cytotoxic extracts were analysed by caspase 3 and 7 activation, DNA fragmentation, acridine orange/ethidium bromide (AO/EB) and Hoechst staining.

Results: Of the four solvent extracts used, only the methanol extract showed anti-proliferative effects against all three cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Cytotoxicity of the methanol extract of RA was higher (MCF-7 IC50- 81.1 µg/mL, MDA-MB-231 IC50- 91. 5 µg/mL and SKOV-3 IC50- 71.5 µg/mL) compared to that of the methanol extract of KA (MCF-7 IC50- 123.9 µg/mL, MDA-MB-231 IC50- 111.2 µg/mL and SKOV-3 IC50- 137.2 µg/mL). Both the methanol extracts showed less cytotoxicity to normal mammary epithelial cells [IC50- 255.6 µg/mL (RA) and IC50- 615.6 µg/mL (KA)]. Methanol extracts also exhibited strong free radical scavenging ability on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). Furthermore, methanol extract showed apoptotic effect against all tested cancer cell lines.

Conclusion: Overall findings of this study suggest that methanol extracts of the bark of two common mango varieties tested exhibit cytotoxicity through induction of apoptosis through caspase dependent mechanisms. [5]


[1] Auersperg, N., Edelson, M.I., Mok, S.C., Johnson, S.W. and Hamilton, T.C., 1998, June. The biology of ovarian cancer. In Seminars in oncology (Vol. 25, No. 3, p. 281).

[2] Permuth-Wey, J. and Sellers, T.A., 2009. Epidemiology of ovarian cancer. In Cancer epidemiology (pp. 413-437). Humana Press.

[3] Vaughan, S., Coward, J.I., Bast, R.C., Berchuck, A., Berek, J.S., Brenton, J.D., Coukos, G., Crum, C.C., Drapkin, R., Etemadmoghadam, D. and Friedlander, M., 2011. Rethinking ovarian cancer: recommendations for improving outcomes. Nature Reviews Cancer, 11(10), pp.719-725.

[4] Adeyemi, A. S., Afolabi, A. F. and Adedeji, O. A. (2014) “Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness and Its Response among Female Health Workers”, Journal of Advances in Medicine and Medical Research, 5(8), pp. 978-986. doi: 10.9734/BJMMR/2015/13354.

[5] Ediriweera, M., Tennekoon, K., Samarakoon, S., Thabrew, I. and de Silva, E. D. (2016) “Cytotoxic and Apoptotic Effects of the Bark of Two Common Mango (Mangifera indica) Varieties from Sri Lanka on Breast and Ovarian Cancer Cells”, Journal of Pharmaceutical Research International, 10(2), pp. 1-7. doi: 10.9734/BJPR/2016/24004.

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