A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer shows that protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), known to be a marker of poor prognosis in breast cancer, also marks ovarian cancers likely to be resistant to the common chemotherapy cisplatin.
“Cisplatin is one of the mainstays of ovarian cancer treatment. We know that ovarian cancers may develop resistance to cisplatin and when that happens the clinical course can take a turn for the worse,” says first author Bradley Corr.
CK5 is a structural protein involved in forming the cytoskeleton of epithelial cells. Cells with cytoskeletons that include high levels of CK5 are likely to be progenitor or “stem-like” cells, able to produce many kinds of mature tissue cells. In cancer these cells are undesirable as they can reform a tumor after treatment. Previous work has shown the protein to be a marker of poor prognosis in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. The current study extends this finding to ovarian cancer.
Determining the action whereby CK5 confers this immunity to platinum-based chemotherapies including cisplatin could someday help researchers design ways to resensitize these cells to treatment.
“Platinum-based chemotherapy remains the standard of care for ovarian cancer. Our goal is to predict in whom and why therapy resistance occurs. This will help us treat patients with improved efficacy and hopefully improve outcomes,” Corr says.
Based on material originally posted by University of Colorado Cancer Center.