Crosstalk between fallopian tube, ovary may drive the spread of ovarian cancer

Crosstalk between fallopian tube, ovary may drive the spread of ovarian cancer

New research from the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that cancer cells in the fallopian tube affect normal chemical signaling between reproductive tissues and stimulate the release of norepinephrine, a small molecule hormone, from the ovary.

Reported in ACS Central Science, an open-access journal published by the American Chemical Society, the study suggests that the cancer cells take over the communication between the fallopian tube and the ovary to create an environment that is more hospitable to its growth, and that the increased norepinephrine levels cause cancer cells to migrate from the fallopian tube to the ovary.

University of Illinois Cancer Center member Joanna Burdette, a co-author on the study, said it is a common misconception that ovarian cancer cells are formed in the ovary.

“Over the last several years we have come to learn that ovarian cancer cells, specifically high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells, originate in the fallopian tube and migrate to the ovary where they become established as ovarian cancer, the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women,” said Burdette, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at the UIC College of Pharmacy.

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