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A Study of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer Origins Implicates the SOX18 Transcription Factor in Tumor Development.

Lawrenson K, Fonseca MAS, Liu AY, Segato Dezem F, Lee JM, Lin X, Corona RI, Abbasi F, Vavra KC, Dinh HQ, Gill NK, Seo JH, Coetzee S, Lin YG, Pejovic T, Mhawech-Fauceglia P, Rowat AC, Drapkin R, Karlan BY, Hazelett DJ, Freedman ML, Gayther SA, Noushmehr H

Fallopian tube secretory epithelial cells (FTSECs) are likely the main precursor cell type of high-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSOCs), but these tumors may also arise from ovarian surface epithelial cells (OSECs). We profiled global landscapes of gene expression and active chromatin to characterize molecular similarities between OSECs (n = 114), FTSECs (n = 74), and HGSOCs (n = 394). A one-class machine learning algorithm predicts that most HGSOCs derive from FTSECs, with particularly high FTSEC scores in mesenchymal-type HGSOCs (p < 8 × 10). However, a subset of HGSOCs likely derive from OSECs, particularly HGSOCs of the proliferative type (p < 2 × 10), suggesting a dualistic model for HGSOC origins. Super-enhancer (SE) landscapes were also more similar between FTSECs and HGSOCs than between OSECs and HGSOCs (p < 2.2 × 10). The SOX18 transcription factor (TF) coincided with a HGSOC-specific SE, and ectopic overexpression of SOX18 in FTSECs caused epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, indicating that SOX18 plays a role in establishing the mesenchymal signature of fallopian-derived HGSOCs.


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December, 2019


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