Multimodal single-cell surfaceome and transcriptome profiling of longitudinal high-grade ovarian cancer ascites samples
Despite advances in the initial treatment of high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), recurrence of the disease is very common and effective treatment of recurrent HGSOC remains a major challenge. In order for a tumor to gain resistance to chemotherapy and progress into recurrent disease, it undergoes various changes including altering signaling networks within the tumor cells. These signaling networks can be surveyed by looking at the “transcriptome”, or the mRNAs in the tumor cells, and the “surfaceome”, or the proteins presented on the outside of the cells.
Dr. Heinzelmann-Schwarz will use state-of-the-art technology to study the transcriptome and the surfaceome at the single-cell level in order to investigate the role of signaling networks in the progression of HGSOC. Because ovarian tumors are located in the body cavity, ovarian cancer cells can be collected for study from the ascites fluid, the fluid that collects in the body cavity. Dr. Heinzelmann-Schwarz has identified 20 HGSOC patients from whom ascites fluid was collected at multiple times, spanning from initial diagnosis to recurrence. By performing single-cell analysis on these samples, she can identify common signaling networks that may contribute to resistance to chemotherapy, disease progression, and recurrence. This information would greatly improve our understanding of how ovarian cancer responds to treatment and would provide clinical insight into the treatment recurrent disease.