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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 846387, 9 pages
Research Article

Molecular Profiling Predicts the Existence of Two Functionally Distinct Classes of Ovarian Cancer Stroma

1Integrated Cancer Research Center, School of Biology and Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology, 315 Ferst Dr., Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
2Ovarian Cancer Institute, 960 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 130, Atlanta, GA 30342, USA

Received 6 March 2013; Revised 16 April 2013; Accepted 18 April 2013

Academic Editor: Tao Huang

Copyright © 2013 Loukia N. Lili et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although stromal cell signaling has been shown to play a significant role in the progression of many cancers, relatively little is known about its importance in modulating ovarian cancer development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the process of stroma activation in human ovarian cancer by molecular analysis of matched sets of cancer and surrounding stroma tissues. RNA microarray profiling of 45 tissue samples was carried out using the Affymetrix (U133 Plus 2.0) gene expression platform. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) was employed to isolate cancer cells from the tumors of ovarian cancer patients (Cepi) and matched sets of surrounding cancer stroma (CS). For controls, ovarian surface epithelial cells (OSE) were isolated from the normal (noncancerous) ovaries and normal stroma (NS). Hierarchical clustering of the microarray data resulted in clear separations between the OSE, Cepi, NS, and CS samples. Expression patterns of genes encoding signaling molecules and compatible receptors in the CS and Cepi samples indicate the existence of two subgroups of cancer stroma (CS) with different propensities to support tumor growth. Our results indicate that functionally significant variability exists among ovarian cancer patients in the ability of the microenvironment to modulate cancer development.