We specialize in the biology of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and our goal is to minimize deaths by detecting EOC in curable stages. To accomplish this, we search for new biomarkers for screening and early detection of EOC. We have performed several studies with discovery of potential single biomarkers but this work needs to be expanded and refined to be specific enough for clinical use. We have recently used different proteomics approaches to isolate 30 proteins suitable for validation.
The human ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) is a single layer of simple flat to cuboidal cells that cover the surface of the cortical stroma. It is widely accepted that ovarian tumorigenesis, as other cancers, is triggered by the accumulation of genetic alterations in epithelial cells. But the hypothesis of OSE as the cell of origin is currently challenged. Transformation of normal cells into cancer cells is also influenced by the ovarian microenvironment. Fibroblasts are the major cell type in the ovarian stroma and have several important functions, such as producing growth factors and chemokines (i.e. during ovulation inflammation) and depositing extracellular matrix.
Current studies focus on (1) expanding culture models of human OSE and stroma to mimic the microenvironment in the ovarian cortex and (2) studying OSE plasticity including the regulation of OSE epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, adherens and tight junctions, epithelial polarity and epithelial-stromal interactions. Our studies will enhance our understanding of the heterogeneity of EOC and the role of the stroma in the initiation of ovarian cancer.
We Biomarker studies are performed on human tissue and fluids collected at surgery of a suspicious adnexal mass. The biobank have samples from over 400 patients. We use different “omics” platforms. Human primary cultured cells and established cell lines are used for EMT and microenvironment studies and analyzed by modern molecular biology techniques.
Karin Sundfeldt, MD, PhD, Professor, Consultant Ob&Gyn
Birgitta Weijdegård, Technician
Kristina Levan, PhD, Postdoc