Characterization of disease progression in ovarian cancer by utilizing 'chemograms' of ovarian cancer stem cells

Achuta K. Guddati, Shagufta Shaheen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Ovarian cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women with cancer. First-line chemotherapy with platinum compounds and taxane compounds has been effective, but most patients develop a relapse of the disease due to drug resistance. There is growing evidence that this resistance may be due to the presence of ovarian cancer stem cells. Discussion: Cells with properties of cancer stem cells have been isolated from the ascitic fluid of ovarian cancer patients. This subset of cells is highly tumourigenic compared to the rest of the cells in the ascitic fluid. They are known to exude harmful chemicals from their cytoplasm and have been found to be resistant to chemotherapeutic agents. This property has been utilized to purify them by fluorescence assisted cytometry to yield a subset of cells which are called 'side population'. These cells exhibit the properties of cancer stem cells and their role in disease progression is being currently investigated. The course of the disease can be potentially characterized at the cellular level by closely studying this cell population. They can also be cultured in different combinations of chemotherapeutic agents at varying concentrations to obtain 'chemograms' which are sensitivity charts. Chemotherapeutic agents which produce the most effective kill curves can then be rationally used as a second-line chemotherapy if the disease relapses. These sensitivity charts can provide insight into emerging patterns of chemoresistance and also help discover surface markers that accurately identify ovarian cancer stem cells. Conclusion: The high rate of disease relapse in patients with ovarian cancer requires a new and different approach utilizing the sensitivity of cancer stem cells. Isolating and characterizing the resistance patterns of ovarian cancer stem cells may provide a rational approach towards an effective and individualized chemotherapeutic regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-191
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Chemogram
  • Chemotherapy
  • Ovarian cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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