Connective tissue growth factor as a novel therapeutic target in high grade serous ovarian cancer.

Author(s): Moran-Jones K,  Gloss BS,  Murali R,  Chang DK,  Colvin EK,  Jones MD,  Yuen S,  Howell VM,  Brown LM,  Wong CW,  Spong SM,  Scarlett CJ,  Hacker NF,  Ghosh S,  Mok SC,  Birrer MJ,  Samimi G

Journal: Oncotarget

Date: 2015 Dec 29

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): BGCRG

PubMed ID: 26575166

PMC ID: PMC4792575

Abstract: Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death among women with gynecologic cancer. We examined molecular profiles of fibroblasts from normal ovary and high-grade serous ovarian tumors to identify novel therapeutic targets involved in tumor progression. We identified 2,300 genes that are significantly differentially expressed in tumor-associated fibroblasts. Fibroblast expression of one of these genes, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. CTGF protein expression in ovarian tumor fibroblasts significantly correlated with gene expression levels. CTGF is a secreted component of the tumor microenvironment and is being pursued as a therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer. We examined its effect in in vitro and ex vivo ovarian cancer models, and examined associations between CTGF expression and clinico-pathologic characteristics in patients. CTGF promotes migration and peritoneal adhesion of ovarian cancer cells. These effects are abrogated by FG-3019, a human monoclonal antibody against CTGF, currently under clinical investigation as a therapeutic agent. Immunohistochemical analyses of high-grade serous ovarian tumors reveal that the highest level of tumor stromal CTGF expression was correlated with the poorest prognosis. Our findings identify CTGF as a promoter of peritoneal adhesion, likely to mediate metastasis, and a potential therapeutic target in high-grade serous ovarian cancer. These results warrant further studies into the therapeutic efficacy of FG-3019 in high-grade serous ovarian cancer.