Epithelial ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of death from gynecologic malignancies in the United States. Most cases are diagnosed at late stages, with the solid tumor masses growing as peritoneal implants, or floating within the ascitic fluid (peritoneal ovarian carcinomatosis). Despite aggressive surgical "debulking," recurrence of recalcitrant disease is frequent with poor patient survival. Efforts to improve survival rates are hindered by lack of biomarkers that can detect and effectively treat ovarian cancer in its early stages. Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is a multifunctional receptor involved in a myriad of tumor cell processes. However, the role of host uPAR in ovarian cancer is still elusive. To define the potential proinflammatory role of uPAR in ovarian cancer, first, using a syngeneic murine model in uPAR-/- mice, we found that ablation of uPAR restrained tumor take and peritoneal implants and prolonged the survival of uPAR-/- mice compared with their uPAR+/+ counterparts. Ascitic fluid accumulation was significantly decreased in uPAR-/- mice with decreased macrophage infiltration. Second, in vitro mechanistic studies revealed that host uPAR is involved in the multiple steps of peritoneal metastatic cascade. Third, we evaluated the prognostic utility of tumor and stromal uPAR in human ovarian cancer tissue microarray. In summary, our studies indicated that uPAR plays a significant role in ovarian cancer cell-stromal crosstalk and contributes to increased vascular permeability and inflammatory ovarian cancer microenvironment. This provides a rationale for targeting the uPAR with either specific neutralizing antibodies or targeting its downstream inflammatory effectors in patients with ovarian cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research