High-grade serous ovarian cancer accounts for over 75% of all epithelial ovarian cancers (exceeding 20,000 new cases per year), and is the most lethal form of ovarian cancer. The majority of patients presenting with HGSC are diagnosed with advanced stage disease (due to a lack of early detection), with most women dying from this disease.
There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that the secretory epithelial cells in the distal fallopian tube serve as the point of origin for the majority of HGSCs. Although various genetic changes have been identified in HGSC, the initial molecular events involved in malignant transformation are yet to be identified. Our laboratory is interested in the signaling of a gene known as STAT3, which has been shown to play a role in cell proliferation and tumor progression in ovarian cancers. Recent findings in our laboratory have shown that STAT3 is present in the fallopian tubes, and may shed light into the early events that lead to the development of ovarian cancer.
Understanding the importance of STAT3 activation in the fallopian tubes (as the initiating event in ovarian cancer) provides novel opportunities for ovarian cancer prevention and has the potential for novel treatment strategies for advanced ovarian cancer. This work has substantial potential to translate work done at the bench to the bedside of patients with ovarian cancer.