Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Zhang: Epithelial ovarian cancer remains the most lethal gynecological malignancy. The 5-year survival rate for patients with advanced ovarian cancer is only 30-40%, and acquired resistance to platinum is considered a major factor in disease relapse. A major challenge in cancer treatment is the resilient ability of cancer cells to repair DNA damage caused by chemotherapy agents. In this study, we found that adding a molecule called miR-506 to standard chemotherapy can help cells overcome drug resistance, so that the chemotherapy drugs remain effective against ovarian cancer. This research supports a new combination approach, which may substantially benefit patients with this deadly disease.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Zhang: Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the world. Our study shows that miR-506 was associated with better response to therapy and longer progression-free and overall survival. Our research further shows that adding miR-506 to standard chemotherapy can help cells overcome drug resistance, so that the chemotherapy drugs remain effective against ovarian cancer. This research supports a new combination approach, which may substantially benefit patients with this deadly disease. Our data support the idea that nanoparticle delivery of miR-506 combined with DNA-damaging agents may lead to substantial benefit for chemoresistant ovarian cancer management. This research represents an important step towards a cure for ovarian cancer patients around the world.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Zhang: We found that miR-506 is not only a robust clinical marker for chemotherapy response and survival in serous ovarian cancers but also has important therapeutic value in sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapy. The inverse association of miR-506 and Rad51 was seen in three different cohorts in our analyses, the number of cases in some cohorts is still relatively small. Thus, further validation in additional cohorts is important. Nearly 2,578 miRNAs have been identified in the human genome, and are thought to regulate 30% of the transcriptome Increasing evidence has demonstrated that miRNA are highly deregulated in cancer. Because more than one miRNAs are known to modulate Rad51, future analyses of combined effect of several miRNAs will also be clinically relevant.
Guoyan Liu, Da Yang, Rajesha Rupaimoole, Chad V. Pecot, Yan Sun, Lingegowda S. Mangala, Xia Li, Ping Ji, David Cogdell, Limei Hu, Yingmei Wang, Cristian Rodriguez-Aguayo, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Ilya Shmulevich, Loris De Cecco, Kexin Chen, Delia Mezzanzanica, Fengxia Xue, Anil K. Sood, and Wei Zhang
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wei Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pathology, Director, Cancer Genomics Core Lab, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, & Houston, Texas 77030 (2015). Molecule May Help Ovarian Cancer Patients Overcome Chemotherapy Resistance MedicalResearch.com