Stromal cartilage oligomeric matrix protein as a tumorigenic driver in ovarian cancer via Notch3 signaling and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition

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Background: Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), an extracellular matrix glycoprotein, is vital in preserving cartilage integrity. Further, its overexpression is associated with the aggressiveness of several types of solid cancers. This study investigated COMP's role in ovarian cancer, exploring clinicopathological links and mechanistic insights.

Methods: To study the association of COMP expression in cancer cells and stroma with clinicopathological features of ovarian tumor patients, we analyzed an epithelial ovarian tumor cohort by immunohistochemical analysis. Subsequently, to study the functional mechanisms played by COMP, an in vivo xenograft mouse model and several molecular biology techniques such as transwell migration and invasion assay, tumorsphere formation assay, proximity ligation assay, and RT-qPCR array were performed.

Results: Based on immunohistochemical analysis of epithelial ovarian tumor tissues, COMP expression in the stroma, but not in cancer cells, was linked to worse overall survival (OS) of ovarian cancer patients. A xenograft mouse model showed that carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) expressing COMP stimulate the growth and metastasis of ovarian tumors through the secretion of COMP. The expression of COMP was upregulated in CAFs stimulated with TGF-β. Functionally, secreted COMP by CAFs enhanced the migratory capacity of ovarian cancer cells. Mechanistically, COMP activated the Notch3 receptor by enhancing the Notch3-Jagged1 interaction. The dependency of the COMP effect on Notch was confirmed when the migration and tumorsphere formation of COMP-treated ovarian cancer cells were inhibited upon incubation with Notch inhibitors. Moreover, COMP treatment induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and upregulation of active β-catenin in ovarian cancer cells.

Conclusion: This study suggests that COMP secretion by CAFs drives ovarian cancer progression through the induction of the Notch pathway and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
Sidor (från-till)1-19
TidskriftJournal of Translational Medicine
StatusPublished - 2024 apr. 13

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Cancer och onkologi


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