Publications by authors named "Douglas A Levine"

235 Publications

Computational modeling of ovarian cancer dynamics suggests optimal strategies for therapy and screening.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Jun;118(25)

Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network, Toronto, ON M5G 2M9, Canada;

High-grade serous tubo-ovarian carcinoma (HGSC) is a major cause of cancer-related death. Treatment is not uniform, with some patients undergoing primary debulking surgery followed by chemotherapy (PDS) and others being treated directly with chemotherapy and only having surgery after three to four cycles (NACT). Which strategy is optimal remains controversial. We developed a mathematical framework that simulates hierarchical or stochastic models of tumor initiation and reproduces the clinical course of HGSC. After estimating parameter values, we infer that most patients harbor chemoresistant HGSC cells at diagnosis and that, if the tumor burden is not too large and complete debulking can be achieved, PDS is superior to NACT due to better depletion of resistant cells. We further predict that earlier diagnosis of primary HGSC, followed by complete debulking, could improve survival, but its benefit in relapsed patients is likely to be limited. These predictions are supported by primary clinical data from multiple cohorts. Our results have clear implications for these key issues in HGSC management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2026663118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237655PMC
June 2021

Joint IARC/NCI International Cancer Seminar Series Report: expert consensus on future directions for ovarian carcinoma research.

Carcinogenesis 2021 Jun;42(6):785-793

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Recently, ovarian cancer research has evolved considerably because of the emerging recognition that rather than a single disease, ovarian carcinomas comprise several different histotypes that vary by etiologic origin, risk factors, molecular profiles, therapeutic approaches and clinical outcome. Despite significant progress in our understanding of the etiologic heterogeneity of ovarian cancer, as well as important clinical advances, it remains the eighth most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide and the most fatal gynecologic cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the United States National Cancer Institute jointly convened an expert panel on ovarian carcinoma to develop consensus research priorities based on evolving scientific discoveries. Expertise ranged from etiology, prevention, early detection, pathology, model systems, molecular characterization and treatment/clinical management. This report summarizes the current state of knowledge and highlights expert consensus on future directions to continue advancing etiologic, epidemiologic and prognostic research on ovarian carcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgab043DOI Listing
June 2021

Uterine carcinosarcomas: From pathology to practice.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 Jul 21;162(1):235-241. Epub 2021 May 21.

Washington University School of Medicine and Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis, MO, United States.

Objective: Uterine carcinosarcoma (UCS) is a rare but aggressive cancer. In early-stage disease data guiding treatment is sparse. The purpose of this review is to summarize the findings from the 2019 NRG oncology group summer symposium meeting as well as a review of the current literature, with a particular focus on molecular targets, ongoing clinical trials, and treatment of early and advanced/recurrent disease.

Methods: A combination of expert presentations and an extensive literature search was undertaken to summarize the literature in this review. MEDLINE was queried for peer-reviewed publications on UCS. This search was not limited by year or study design, but was limited to English language publications. ClinicalTrials.gov was queried for ongoing trials in UCS.

Results: UCS is a rare cancer that is biphasic, with the carcinomatous component driving its aggressive nature. Level 3 evidence regarding early stage disease is lacking, but retrospective data suggests adjuvant therapy is warranted. The recent results of GOG 261 have contributed valuable information towards treatment strategy, including use of paclitaxel and carboplatin for UCS. Clinical trials are ongoing to investigate new targeted agents in UCS.

Conclusion: Ongoing endometrial cancer clinical trials now include UCS patients. In combination with advances in molecular profiling, this will provide patients with UCS improved therapeutic options. Until that time, surgical resection and traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy remains standard of care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.05.003DOI Listing
July 2021

Evaluation of treatment effects in patients with endometrial cancer and POLE mutations: An individual patient data meta-analysis.

Cancer 2021 Jul 1;127(14):2409-2422. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Background: Endometrial cancers (ECs) with somatic mutations in DNA polymerase epsilon (POLE) are characterized by unfavorable pathological features, which prompt adjuvant treatment. Paradoxically, women with POLE-mutated EC have outstanding clinical outcomes, and this raises concerns of overtreatment. The authors investigated whether favorable outcomes were independent of treatment.

Methods: A PubMed search for POLE and endometrial was restricted to articles published between March 1, 2012, and March 1, 2018, that provided individual patient data (IPD), adjuvant treatment, and survival. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) reporting guidelines for IPD, the authors used univariate and multivariate one-stage meta-analyses with mixed effects Cox models (random effects for study cohorts) to infer the associations of treatment, traditional prognostic factors, and outcome, which was defined as the time from first diagnosis to any adverse event (progression/recurrence or death from EC).

Results: Three hundred fifty-nine women with POLE-mutated EC were identified; 294 (82%) had pathogenic mutations. Worse outcomes were demonstrated in patients with nonpathogenic POLE mutations (hazard ratio, 3.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.47-7.58; log-rank P < .01). Except for stage (P < .01), traditional prognosticators were not associated with progression/recurrence or death from disease. Adverse events were rare (11 progressions/recurrences and 3 disease-specific deaths). Salvage rates in patients who experienced recurrence were high and sustained, with 8 of 11 alive without evidence of disease (range, 5.5-14.2 years). Adjuvant treatment was not associated with outcome.

Conclusions: Clinical outcomes for ECs with pathogenic POLE mutations are not associated with most traditional risk parameters, and patients do not appear to benefit from adjuvant therapy. The observed low rates of recurrence/progression and the high and sustained salvage rates raise the possibility of safely de-escalating treatment for these patients.

Lay Summary: Ten percent of all endometrial cancers have mutations in the DNA repair gene DNA polymerase epsilon (POLE). Women who have endometrial cancers with true POLE mutations experience almost no recurrences or deaths from their cancer even when their tumors appear to have very unfavorable characteristics. Additional therapy (radiation and chemotherapy) does not appear to improve outcomes for women with POLE-mutated endometrial cancer, and this supports the move to less therapy and less associated toxicity. Diligent classification of endometrial cancers by molecular features provides valuable information to inform prognosis and to direct treatment/no treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33516DOI Listing
July 2021

Mutated p53 portends improvement in outcomes when bevacizumab is combined with chemotherapy in advanced/recurrent endometrial cancer: An NRG Oncology study.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 Apr 2;161(1):113-121. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer and Weill Cornell Medical Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Successfully combining targeted agents with chemotherapy is an important future goal for cancer therapy. However, an improvement in patient outcomes requires an enhanced understanding of the tumor biomarkers that predict for drug sensitivity. NRG Oncology/Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) Study GOG-86P was one of the first attempts to combine targeted agents (bevacizumab or temsirolimus) with chemotherapy in patients with advanced endometrial cancer. Herein we performed exploratory analyses to examine the relationship between mutations in TP53, the most commonly mutated gene in cancer, with outcomes on GOG-86P.

Methods: TP53 mutational status was determined and correlated with progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) on GOG-86P.

Results: Mutations in TP53 were associated with improved PFS and OS for patients that received bevacizumab as compared to temsirolimus (PFS: HR 0.48, 95% CI 0.31, 0.75; OS: HR: 0.61, 95% CI 0.38, 0.98). By contrast, there was no statistically significant difference in PFS or OS between arms for cases with WT TP53.

Conclusions: This exploratory study suggests that combining chemotherapy with bevacizumab, but not temsirolimus, may enhance PFS and OS for patients whose tumors harbor mutant p53. These data set the stage for larger clinical studies evaluating the potential of TP53 mutational status as a biomarker to guide choice of treatment for endometrial cancer patients. Clintrials.gov: NCT00977574.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.01.025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7994192PMC
April 2021

Angiogenesis in endometrial carcinoma: Therapies and biomarkers, current options, and future perspectives.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 03 26;160(3):844-850. Epub 2020 Dec 26.

Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY, United States of America. Electronic address:

Endometrial carcinoma is the most common gynecologic malignancy and the fourth most prevalent cancer in women in the modern world. Despite a relatively high chance of surgical cure, for patients with advanced or recurrent disease there are few therapeutic options. Angiogenesis has been extensively studied ever since vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was discovered in the 1980s. Several clinical trials of anti-angiogenic therapy in endometrial carcinoma have been conducted, with mixed results, and many researchers have tried to determine prognostic and therapeutic biomarkers. Recent trials, which shed new light on possible treatment biomarkers and efficacious combination therapies, are reviewed in this text. While we are still far from effectively tailoring anti-angiogenic treatment to each patient, these data have provided valuable insight and have put us on track for the discovery of novel opportunities for angiogenesis therapy in endometrial carcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.12.016DOI Listing
March 2021

Integrated Multi-Tumor Radio-Genomic Marker of Outcomes in Patients with High Serous Ovarian Carcinoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 17;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Develop an integrated intra-site and inter-site radiomics-clinical-genomic marker of high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) outcomes and explore the biological basis of radiomics with respect to molecular signaling pathways and the tumor microenvironment (TME). Seventy-five stage III-IV HGSOC patients from internal ( = 40) and external factors via the Cancer Imaging Archive (TCGA) ( = 35) with pre-operative contrast enhanced CT, attempted primary cytoreduction, at least two disease sites, and molecular analysis performed within TCGA were retrospectively analyzed. An intra-site and inter-site radiomics (cluDiss) measure was combined with clinical-genomic variables (iRCG) and compared against conventional (volume and number of sites) and average radiomics ( = 75) for prognosticating progression-free survival (PFS) and platinum resistance. Correlation with molecular signaling and TME derived using a single sample gene set enrichment that was measured. The iRCG model had the best platinum resistance classification accuracy (AUROC of 0.78 [95% CI 0.77 to 0.80]). CluDiss was associated with PFS (HR 1.03 [95% CI: 1.01 to 1.05], = 0.002), negatively correlated with signaling, and positively to immune TME. CluDiss and the iRCG prognosticated HGSOC outcomes better than conventional and average radiomic measures and could better stratify patient outcomes if validated on larger multi-center trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7698381PMC
November 2020

Genetically Defined, Syngeneic Organoid Platform for Developing Combination Therapies for Ovarian Cancer.

Cancer Discov 2021 Feb 6;11(2):362-383. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, NYU Langone Health, New York, New York.

The paucity of genetically informed, immunocompetent tumor models impedes evaluation of conventional, targeted, and immune therapies. By engineering mouse fallopian tube epithelial organoids using lentiviral gene transduction and/or CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, we generated multiple high-grade serous tubo-ovarian cancer (HGSC) models exhibiting mutational combinations seen in patients with HGSC. Detailed analysis of homologous recombination (HR)-proficient ( ), HR-deficient ( ), and unclassified ( ) organoids revealed differences in properties (proliferation, differentiation, and "secretome"), copy-number aberrations, and tumorigenicity. Tumorigenic organoids had variable sensitivity to HGSC chemotherapeutics, and evoked distinct immune microenvironments that could be modulated by neutralizing organoid-produced chemokines/cytokines. These findings enabled development of a chemotherapy/immunotherapy regimen that yielded durable, T cell-dependent responses in HGSC; in contrast, tumors failed to respond. Mouse and human HGSC models showed genotype-dependent similarities in chemosensitivity, secretome, and immune microenvironment. Genotype-informed, syngeneic organoid models could provide a platform for the rapid evaluation of tumor biology and therapeutics. SIGNIFICANCE: The lack of genetically informed, diverse, immunocompetent models poses a major barrier to therapeutic development for many malignancies. Using engineered fallopian tube organoids to study the cell-autonomous and cell-nonautonomous effects of specific combinations of mutations found in HGSC, we suggest an effective combination treatment for the currently intractable -amplified subgroup..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0455DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7858239PMC
February 2021

Population-based targeted sequencing of 54 candidate genes identifies as a susceptibility gene for high-grade serous ovarian cancer.

J Med Genet 2021 May 16;58(5):305-313. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Hereditary Cancer Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain.

Purpose: The known epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) susceptibility genes account for less than 50% of the heritable risk of ovarian cancer suggesting that other susceptibility genes exist. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution to ovarian cancer susceptibility of rare deleterious germline variants in a set of candidate genes.

Methods: We sequenced the coding region of 54 candidate genes in 6385 invasive EOC cases and 6115 controls of broad European ancestry. Genes with an increased frequency of putative deleterious variants in cases versus controls were further examined in an independent set of 14 135 EOC cases and 28 655 controls from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium and the UK Biobank. For each gene, we estimated the EOC risks and evaluated associations between germline variant status and clinical characteristics.

Results: The ORs associated for high-grade serous ovarian cancer were 3.01 for (95% CI 1.59 to 5.68; p=0.00068), 1.99 for (95% CI 1.15 to 3.43; p=0.014) and 4.07 for (95% CI 1.34 to 12.4; p=0.013). Deleterious mutations in were associated with a reduced risk of disease (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.07 to 1.00, p=0.049). However, based on the Bayes false discovery probability, only the association for in high-grade serous ovarian cancer is likely to represent a true positive.

Conclusions: We have found strong evidence that carriers of deleterious mutations are at increased risk of high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Whether the magnitude of risk is sufficiently high to warrant the inclusion of in cancer gene panels for ovarian cancer risk testing is unclear; much larger sample sizes will be needed to provide sufficiently precise estimates for clinical counselling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2019-106739DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086250PMC
May 2021

Small-Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type-Genetics, New Treatment Targets, and Current Management Guidelines.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 08 10;26(15):3908-3917. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Small-cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) is a rare and highly aggressive ovarian malignancy. In almost all cases, it is associated with somatic and often germline pathogenic variants in , which encodes for the SMARCA4 protein (BRG1), a subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Approximately 20% of human cancers possess pathogenic variants in at least one SWI/SNF subunit. Because of their role in regulating many important cellular processes including transcriptional control, DNA repair, differentiation, cell division, and DNA replication, SWI/SNF complexes with mutant subunits are thought to contribute to cancer initiation and progression. Fewer than 500 cases of SCCOHT have been reported in the literature and approximately 60% are associated with hypercalcemia. SCCOHT primarily affects females under 40 years of age who usually present with symptoms related to a pelvic mass. SCCOHT is an aggressive cancer, with long-term survival rates of 30% in early-stage cases. Although various treatment approaches have been proposed, there is no consensus on surveillance and therapeutic strategy. An international group of multidisciplinary clinicians and researchers recently formed the International SCCOHT Consortium to evaluate current knowledge and propose consensus surveillance and therapeutic recommendations, with the aim of improving outcomes. Here, we present an overview of the genetics of this cancer, provide updates on new treatment targets, and propose management guidelines for this challenging cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3797DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7415570PMC
August 2020

Proteogenomic Characterization of Endometrial Carcinoma.

Cell 2020 02 13;180(4):729-748.e26. Epub 2020 Feb 13.

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.

We undertook a comprehensive proteogenomic characterization of 95 prospectively collected endometrial carcinomas, comprising 83 endometrioid and 12 serous tumors. This analysis revealed possible new consequences of perturbations to the p53 and Wnt/β-catenin pathways, identified a potential role for circRNAs in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and provided new information about proteomic markers of clinical and genomic tumor subgroups, including relationships to known druggable pathways. An extensive genome-wide acetylation survey yielded insights into regulatory mechanisms linking Wnt signaling and histone acetylation. We also characterized aspects of the tumor immune landscape, including immunogenic alterations, neoantigens, common cancer/testis antigens, and the immune microenvironment, all of which can inform immunotherapy decisions. Collectively, our multi-omic analyses provide a valuable resource for researchers and clinicians, identify new molecular associations of potential mechanistic significance in the development of endometrial cancers, and suggest novel approaches for identifying potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7233456PMC
February 2020

Facilitated referral pathway for genetic testing at the time of ovarian cancer diagnosis: uptake of genetic counseling and testing and impact on patient-reported stress, anxiety and depression.

Gynecol Oncol 2020 04 11;157(1):280-286. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Blavatnik Family Women's Health Research Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States of America.

Background: Timely genetic testing at ovarian cancer diagnosis is essential as results impact front line treatment decisions. Our objective was to determine rates of genetic counseling and testing with an expedited genetics referral pathway wherein women with newly-diagnosed ovarian cancer are contacted by a genetics navigator to facilitate genetic counseling.

Methods: Patients were referred for genetic counseling by their gynecologic oncologist, contacted by a genetics navigator and offered appointments for genetic counseling. Patients completed quality of life (QoL) surveys immediately pre- and post-genetic assessment and 6 months later. The primary outcome was feasibility of this pathway defined by presentation for genetic counseling.

Results: From 2015 to 2018, 100 patients were enrolled. Seventy-eight had genetic counseling and 73 testing. Median time from diagnosis to genetic counseling was 34 days (range 10-189). Among patients who underwent testing, 12 (16%) had pathogenic germline mutations (BRCA1-7, BRCA2-4, MSH2-1). Sixty-five patients completed QoL assessments demonstrating stress and anxiety at time of testing, however, scores improved at 6 months. Despite the pathway leveling financial and logistical barriers, patients receiving care at a public hospital were less likely to present for genetic counseling compared to private hospital patients (56% versus 84%, P = 0.021).

Conclusions: Facilitated referral to genetic counselors at time of ovarian cancer diagnosis is effective, resulting in high uptake of genetic counseling and testing, and does not demonstrate a long term psychologic toll. Concern about causing additional emotional distress should not deter clinicians from early genetics referral as genetic testing can yield important prognostic and therapeutic information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.01.007DOI Listing
April 2020

Germline and Somatic Tumor Testing in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer: ASCO Guideline.

J Clin Oncol 2020 04 27;38(11):1222-1245. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

Women's Malignancies Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.

Purpose: To provide recommendations on genetic and tumor testing for women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer based on available evidence and expert consensus.

Methods: A literature search and prospectively defined study selection criteria sought systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and comparative observational studies published from 2007 through 2019. Guideline recommendations were based on the review of the evidence.

Results: The systematic review identified 19 eligible studies. The evidence consisted of systematic reviews of observational data, consensus guidelines, and RCTs.

Recommendations: All women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer should have germline genetic testing for and other ovarian cancer susceptibility genes. In women who do not carry a germline pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant, somatic tumor testing for pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants should be performed. Women with identified germline or somatic pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in genes should be offered treatments that are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved in the upfront and the recurrent setting. Women diagnosed with clear cell, endometrioid, or mucinous ovarian cancer should be offered somatic tumor testing for mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR). Women with identified dMMR should be offered FDA-approved treatment based on these results. Genetic evaluations should be conducted in conjunction with health care providers familiar with the diagnosis and management of hereditary cancer. First- or second-degree blood relatives of a patient with ovarian cancer with a known germline pathogenic cancer susceptibility gene variant should be offered individualized genetic risk evaluation, counseling, and genetic testing. Clinical decision making should not be made based on a variant of uncertain significance. Women with epithelial ovarian cancer should have testing at the time of diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.02960DOI Listing
April 2020

Both fallopian tube and ovarian surface epithelium are cells-of-origin for high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma.

Nat Commun 2019 11 26;10(1):5367. Epub 2019 Nov 26.

Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY, 10016, USA.

The cell-of-origin of high grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) remains controversial, with fallopian tube epithelium (FTE) and ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) both considered candidates. Here, by using genetically engineered mouse models and organoids, we assessed the tumor-forming properties of FTE and OSE harboring the same oncogenic abnormalities. Combined RB family inactivation and Tp53 mutation in Pax8 + FTE caused Serous Tubal Intraepithelial Carcinoma (STIC), which metastasized rapidly to the ovarian surface. These events were recapitulated by orthotopic injection of mutant FTE organoids. Engineering the same genetic lesions into Lgr5 + OSE or OSE-derived organoids also caused metastatic HGSOC, although with longer latency and lower penetrance. FTE- and OSE-derived tumors had distinct transcriptomes, and comparative transcriptomics and genomics suggest that human HGSOC arises from both cell types. Finally, FTE- and OSE-derived organoids exhibited differential chemosensitivity. Our results comport with a dualistic origin for HGSOC and suggest that the cell-of-origin might influence therapeutic response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13116-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6879755PMC
November 2019

Comprehensive genomic sequencing of paired ovarian cancers reveals discordance in genes that determine clinical trial eligibility.

Gynecol Oncol 2019 12 6;155(3):473-482. Epub 2019 Nov 6.

The Clearity Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: We analyzed comprehensive genomic sequencing results from paired ovarian cancer samples to identify changes in mutational events over time.

Methods: DNA from paired FFPE tumor samples from 50 ovarian cancer patients in the Clearity Foundation Data Repository was analyzed for genomic mutations (GM), copy number alterations (CNA), microsatellite status (MS), tumor mutation burden (TMB), and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) by hybrid-capture, next-generation sequencing of up to 315 genes. Genomic profiles were compared between samples from the same patient. Poor quality results excluded 6 pairs from all analyses and 9 from CNA or LOH.

Results: Forty-four patients with predominantly advanced stage disease (34, 77%) and serous histology (31, 70%) received a median of 3 intervening treatment regimens (range 1-13). Analysis of 22 primary and recurrent sample pairs and 22 recurrent tumor pairs detected a median of 2 GM (range 0-5) and 1 CNA (range 0-6)/sample. TMB, MS, and LOH results were mostly concordant across paired samples. GM were consistent across most pairs [32/44 (73%) concordant], while CNA concordance was less [18/35 (51%)]. No changes were detected in therapeutically relevant GM, but 23% of patients had GM or CNA in the second sample that affect clinical trial eligibility.

Conclusions: Paired ovarian cancer samples demonstrate stable genomic alterations across time. However, discordance was observed for some genes used as eligibility criteria for molecularly targeted clinical trials. Repeat tumor testing may be useful in cases where eligibility for such trials is deemed important after consideration of testing costs and potential clinical benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2019.10.004DOI Listing
December 2019

Chromatin-informed inference of transcriptional programs in gynecologic and basal breast cancers.

Nat Commun 2019 09 25;10(1):4369. Epub 2019 Sep 25.

Computational & Systems Biology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Chromatin accessibility data can elucidate the developmental origin of cancer cells and reveal the enhancer landscape of key oncogenic transcriptional regulators. We develop a computational strategy called PSIONIC (patient-specific inference of networks informed by chromatin) to combine chromatin accessibility data with large tumor expression data and model the effect of enhancers on transcriptional programs in multiple cancers. We generate a new ATAC-seq data profiling chromatin accessibility in gynecologic and basal breast cancer cell lines and apply PSIONIC to 723 patient and 96 cell line RNA-seq profiles from ovarian, uterine, and basal breast cancers. Our computational framework enables us to share information across tumors to learn patient-specific TF activities, revealing regulatory differences between and within tumor types. PSIONIC-predicted activity for MTF1 in cell line models correlates with sensitivity to MTF1 inhibition, showing the potential of our approach for personalized therapy. Many identified TFs are significantly associated with survival outcome. To validate PSIONIC-derived prognostic TFs, we perform immunohistochemical analyses in 31 uterine serous tumors for ETV6 and 45 basal breast tumors for MITF and confirm that the corresponding protein expression patterns are also significantly associated with prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12291-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761109PMC
September 2019

Introduction: the 12th Biennial Rivkin Center Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium.

Int J Gynecol Cancer 2019 08;29(Suppl 2):s1

Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

In September 2018, the 12th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium was presented by the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research, in Seattle, WA, USA. The 2018 Symposium focused on four broad areas of research: Detection and Prevention of Ovarian Cancer, Genomics and Molecular Mechanisms of Ovarian Cancer, Tumor Microenvironment and Immunology of Ovarian Cancer, and Novel Therapeutics: Response and Resistance of Ovarian Cancer. In addition, a special panel on the 'Role of Advocates in Ovarian Cancer Research' was featured.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ijgc-2019-000522DOI Listing
August 2019

MAGENTA (Making Genetic testing accessible): a prospective randomized controlled trial comparing online genetic education and telephone genetic counseling for hereditary cancer genetic testing.

BMC Cancer 2019 Jul 2;19(1):648. Epub 2019 Jul 2.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.

Background: Studies have consistently indicated that the majority of individuals meeting the US Prevention Services Task Force guidelines for genetic testing have not had genetic counseling or testing. Despite increased availability and lower costs of multiplex cancer gene panels, there remains a gap in genetics services that has not been addressed by the current care delivery models. Lower cost of DNA sequencing with online patient-initiated ordering could increase test availability, but the ideal quantity and delivery method of patient education is not known. We hypothesized that online genetic education and testing with access to board certified genetic counselors could improve access to genetic testing while maintaining test quality and clinical utility. The MAGENTA (MAking GENetic Testing Accessible) trial is a nationwide randomized study designed to compare the effectiveness of online genetic education with pre- and post-test telephone genetic counseling to three potentially more accessible alternative approaches: online genetic education with optional telephone counseling, online genetic education with required pre-test telephone genetic counseling, and online genetic education with required post-test telephone genetic counseling.

Methods: 3000 women nationwide will undergo genetic testing for 19 hereditary cancer genes. This is a randomized four-arm non-inferiority study with equal randomization. The four study arms were selected to independently assess the delivery of genetic information both before and after genetic testing (pre-test and post-test) by either requiring telephone genetic counseling or providing only online education with optional telephone counseling. Patients have post-test telephone counseling when testing positive for a pathogenic inherited mutation in all four arms. Surveys measuring psychological, behavioral and cognitive state are completed online at baseline, 3 months, 12 months and 24 months post-results disclosure. The primary study outcome is cancer-risk distress at 3 months post-result disclosure.

Discussion: This trial will assess the use of a genetic service model using online access and electronic education, while evaluating the need for personal pre- and post-test genetic counseling. Data from this study may lead to increased options for delivery of genetic testing and possibly increase access to genetic testing. Identifying more individuals with inherited cancer susceptibility will allow targeted cancer prevention.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02993068 (registered December 14, 2016).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-5868-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6604336PMC
July 2019

Evaluation of vitamin D biosynthesis and pathway target genes reveals UGT2A1/2 and EGFR polymorphisms associated with epithelial ovarian cancer in African American Women.

Cancer Med 2019 05 18;8(5):2503-2513. Epub 2019 Apr 18.

Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.

An association between genetic variants in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene and epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) was previously reported in women of African ancestry (AA). We sought to examine associations between genetic variants in VDR and additional genes from vitamin D biosynthesis and pathway targets (EGFR, UGT1A, UGT2A1/2, UGT2B, CYP3A4/5, CYP2R1, CYP27B1, CYP24A1, CYP11A1, and GC). Genotyping was performed using the custom-designed 533,631 SNP Illumina OncoArray with imputation to the 1,000 Genomes Phase 3 v5 reference set in 755 EOC cases, including 537 high-grade serous (HGSOC), and 1,235 controls. All subjects are of African ancestry (AA). Logistic regression was performed to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). We further evaluated statistical significance of selected SNPs using the Bayesian False Discovery Probability (BFDP). A significant association with EOC was identified in the UGT2A1/2 region for the SNP rs10017134 (per allele OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.2-1.7, P = 1.2 × 10 , BFDP = 0.02); and an association with HGSOC was identified in the EGFR region for the SNP rs114972508 (per allele OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.6-3.4, P = 1.6 × 10 , BFDP = 0.29) and in the UGT2A1/2 region again for rs1017134 (per allele OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.2-1.7, P = 2.3 × 10 , BFDP = 0.23). Genetic variants in the EGFR and UGT2A1/2 may increase susceptibility of EOC in AA women. Future studies to validate these findings are warranted. Alterations in EGFR and UGT2A1/2 could perturb enzyme efficacy, proliferation in ovaries, impact and mark susceptibility to EOC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.1996DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6536963PMC
May 2019

Critical questions in ovarian cancer research and treatment: Report of an American Association for Cancer Research Special Conference.

Cancer 2019 06 5;125(12):1963-1972. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Substantial progress has been made in understanding ovarian cancer at the molecular and cellular level. Significant improvement in 5-year survival has been achieved through cytoreductive surgery, combination platinum-based chemotherapy, and more effective treatment of recurrent cancer, and there are now more than 280,000 ovarian cancer survivors in the United States. Despite these advances, long-term survival in late-stage disease has improved little over the last 4 decades. Poor outcomes relate, in part, to late stage at initial diagnosis, intrinsic drug resistance, and the persistence of dormant drug-resistant cancer cells after primary surgery and chemotherapy. Our ability to accelerate progress in the clinic will depend on the ability to answer several critical questions regarding this disease. To assess current answers, an American Association for Cancer Research Special Conference on "Critical Questions in Ovarian Cancer Research and Treatment" was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 1-3, 2017. Although clinical, translational, and basic investigators conducted much of the discussion, advocates participated in the meeting, and many presentations were directly relevant to patient care, including treatment with poly adenosine diphosphate ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, attempts to improve immunotherapy by overcoming the immune suppressive effects of the microenvironment, and a better understanding of the heterogeneity of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6557260PMC
June 2019

CDK4/6 inhibitors target SMARCA4-determined cyclin D1 deficiency in hypercalcemic small cell carcinoma of the ovary.

Nat Commun 2019 02 4;10(1):558. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 90027, USA.

Inactivating mutations in SMARCA4 (BRG1), a key SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling gene, underlie small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT). To reveal its druggable vulnerabilities, we perform kinase-focused RNAi screens and uncover that SMARCA4-deficient SCCOHT cells are highly sensitive to the inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6). SMARCA4 loss causes profound downregulation of cyclin D1, which limits CDK4/6 kinase activity in SCCOHT cells and leads to in vitro and in vivo susceptibility to CDK4/6 inhibitors. SCCOHT patient tumors are deficient in cyclin D1 yet retain the retinoblastoma-proficient/p16-deficient profile associated with positive responses to CDK4/6 inhibitors. Thus, our findings indicate that CDK4/6 inhibitors, approved for a breast cancer subtype addicted to CDK4/6 activation, could be repurposed to treat SCCOHT. Moreover, our study suggests a novel paradigm whereby critically low oncogene levels, caused by loss of a driver tumor suppressor, may also be exploited therapeutically.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06958-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6361890PMC
February 2019

Shared heritability and functional enrichment across six solid cancers.

Nat Commun 2019 01 25;10(1):431. Epub 2019 Jan 25.

Human Cancer Genetics Programme, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Calle de Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3, 28029, Madrid, Spain.

Quantifying the genetic correlation between cancers can provide important insights into the mechanisms driving cancer etiology. Using genome-wide association study summary statistics across six cancer types based on a total of 296,215 cases and 301,319 controls of European ancestry, here we estimate the pair-wise genetic correlations between breast, colorectal, head/neck, lung, ovary and prostate cancer, and between cancers and 38 other diseases. We observed statistically significant genetic correlations between lung and head/neck cancer (r = 0.57, p = 4.6 × 10), breast and ovarian cancer (r = 0.24, p = 7 × 10), breast and lung cancer (r = 0.18, p =1.5 × 10) and breast and colorectal cancer (r = 0.15, p = 1.1 × 10). We also found that multiple cancers are genetically correlated with non-cancer traits including smoking, psychiatric diseases and metabolic characteristics. Functional enrichment analysis revealed a significant excess contribution of conserved and regulatory regions to cancer heritability. Our comprehensive analysis of cross-cancer heritability suggests that solid tumors arising across tissues share in part a common germline genetic basis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08054-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6347624PMC
January 2019

Genetic Data from Nearly 63,000 Women of European Descent Predicts DNA Methylation Biomarkers and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Risk.

Cancer Res 2019 02 17;79(3):505-517. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

The Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

DNA methylation is instrumental for gene regulation. Global changes in the epigenetic landscape have been recognized as a hallmark of cancer. However, the role of DNA methylation in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains unclear. In this study, high-density genetic and DNA methylation data in white blood cells from the Framingham Heart Study ( = 1,595) were used to build genetic models to predict DNA methylation levels. These prediction models were then applied to the summary statistics of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of ovarian cancer including 22,406 EOC cases and 40,941 controls to investigate genetically predicted DNA methylation levels in association with EOC risk. Among 62,938 CpG sites investigated, genetically predicted methylation levels at 89 CpG were significantly associated with EOC risk at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of < 7.94 × 10. Of them, 87 were located at GWAS-identified EOC susceptibility regions and two resided in a genomic region not previously reported to be associated with EOC risk. Integrative analyses of genetic, methylation, and gene expression data identified consistent directions of associations across 12 CpG, five genes, and EOC risk, suggesting that methylation at these 12 CpG may influence EOC risk by regulating expression of these five genes, namely , and . We identified novel DNA methylation markers associated with EOC risk and propose that methylation at multiple CpG may affect EOC risk via regulation of gene expression. SIGNIFICANCE: Identification of novel DNA methylation markers associated with EOC risk suggests that methylation at multiple CpG may affect EOC risk through regulation of gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2726DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6359948PMC
February 2019

Fallopian Tube Lesions in Women at High Risk for Ovarian Cancer: A Multicenter Study.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2018 11 19;11(11):697-706. Epub 2018 Sep 19.

Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The prognosis of women diagnosed with invasive high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSC) is poor. More information about serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC) and serous tubal intraepithelial lesions (STIL), putative precursor lesions of HGSC, could inform prevention efforts. We conducted a multicenter study to identify risk/protective factors associated with STIC/STILs and characterize p53 signatures in the fallopian tube. The fallopian tubes and ovaries of 479 high-risk women ≥30 years of age who underwent bilateral risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy were reviewed for invasive cancer/STICs/STILs. Epidemiologic data was available for 400 of these women. In 105 women, extensive sampling of the tubes for STICs/STILs/p53 signatures were undertaken. Descriptive statistics were used to compare groups with and without lesions. The combined prevalence of unique tubal lesions [invasive serous cancer ( = 6) /STICs ( = 14)/STILs ( = 5)] was 6.3% and this was split equally among (3.0%) and mutation carriers (3.3%). A diagnosis of invasive cancer was associated with older age but no risk/protective factor was significantly associated with STICs/STILs. Extensive sampling identified double the number of STICs/STILs (11.9%), many p53 signatures (27.0%), and multiple lesions in 50% of the cases. Women with p53 signatures in the fimbria were older than women with signatures in the remaining tube ( = 0.03). STICs/STILs may not share the protective factors that are associated with HGSC. It is plausible that these factors are only associated with STICs that progress to HGSC. Having multiple lesions in the fimbria may be an important predictor of disease progression. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-18-0009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6760670PMC
November 2018

rs495139 in the TYMS-ENOSF1 Region and Risk of Ovarian Carcinoma of Mucinous Histology.

Int J Mol Sci 2018 Aug 21;19(9). Epub 2018 Aug 21.

Department of Gynecology, Jena University Hospital-Friedrich Schiller University, Jena 07743, Germany.

Thymidylate synthase (TYMS) is a crucial enzyme for DNA synthesis. TYMS expression is regulated by its antisense mRNA, ENOSF1. Disrupted regulation may promote uncontrolled DNA synthesis and tumor growth. We sought to replicate our previously reported association between rs495139 in the 3' gene region and increased risk of mucinous ovarian carcinoma (MOC) in an independent sample. Genotypes from 24,351 controls to 15,000 women with invasive OC, including 665 MOC, were available. We estimated per-allele odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using unconditional logistic regression, and meta-analysis when combining these data with our previous report. The association between rs495139 and MOC was not significant in the independent sample (OR = 1.09; 95% CI = 0.97⁻1.22; = 0.15; N = 665 cases). Meta-analysis suggested a weak association (OR = 1.13; 95% CI = 1.03⁻1.24; = 0.01; N = 1019 cases). No significant association with risk of other OC histologic types was observed ( = 0.05 for tumor heterogeneity). In expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis, the rs495139 allele was positively associated with ENOSF1 mRNA expression in normal tissues of the gastrointestinal system, particularly esophageal mucosa ( = 0.51, = 1.7 × 10), and nonsignificantly in five MOC tumors. The association results, along with inconclusive tumor eQTL findings, suggest that a true effect of rs495139 might be small.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092473DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6163881PMC
August 2018

Missed opportunities: Genetic counseling and testing among an ethnically diverse cohort of women with endometrial cancer.

Gynecol Oncol 2018 10 1;151(1):153-158. Epub 2018 Aug 1.

New York University Langone Health, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, 240 East 38th Street, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: Lynch syndrome (LS) accounts for the majority of inherited endometrial cancers (EC), and the identification of probands presents a unique opportunity to treat and prevent multiple cancers. The diagnosis of EC can provide the indication for women with specific risk factors to undergo genetic testing (GT). We sought to evaluate genetic counseling referrals (GCR) and subsequent GT rates in an ethnically diverse group of high-risk women.

Methods: All women diagnosed with EC between 2011 and 2016 were identified. Risk factors for LS including age, family and personal histories of Lynch-related cancers and loss of tumor mismatch repair (MMR) protein expression were identified from laboratory and medical records. Standard two-sided statistical tests were used.

Results: Of 583 women diagnosed with EC, 184 (31.6%) were found to have at least one high-risk characteristic for LS. Among these high-risk women, 58% were given GCR and resulting in only 35% undergoing GT. Ten of the 65 high-risk women who had GT (15.4%) were diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, and all ten met high-risk criteria. Two women of Asian race had tumors exhibiting retained MMR protein expression despite germline testing demonstrating Lynch syndrome.

Conclusions: Many high-risk women do not receive GCR despite a high rate of germline mutations among these women. Improving GCR among high-risk women will lead to more subsequent GT to identify more Lynch syndrome families and prevent additional cancers. Among our ethnically diverse cohort, two women diagnosed with LS had retained MMR protein expression. GCR should be offered to women who possess high-risk characteristics despite normal MMR protein expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2018.07.023DOI Listing
October 2018

A Transcriptome-Wide Association Study Among 97,898 Women to Identify Candidate Susceptibility Genes for Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Risk.

Cancer Res 2018 09 27;78(18):5419-5430. Epub 2018 Jul 27.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified approximately 35 loci associated with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) risk. The majority of GWAS-identified disease susceptibility variants are located in noncoding regions, and causal genes underlying these associations remain largely unknown. Here, we performed a transcriptome-wide association study to search for novel genetic loci and plausible causal genes at known GWAS loci. We used RNA sequencing data (68 normal ovarian tissue samples from 68 individuals and 6,124 cross-tissue samples from 369 individuals) and high-density genotyping data from European descendants of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx V6) project to build ovarian and cross-tissue models of genetically regulated expression using elastic net methods. We evaluated 17,121 genes for their -predicted gene expression in relation to EOC risk using summary statistics data from GWAS of 97,898 women, including 29,396 EOC cases. With a Bonferroni-corrected significance level of < 2.2 × 10, we identified 35 genes, including at 11q14.2 (Z = 5.08, = 3.83 × 10, the cross-tissue model; 1 Mb away from any GWAS-identified EOC risk variant), a potential novel locus for EOC risk. All other 34 significantly associated genes were located within 1 Mb of known GWAS-identified loci, including 23 genes at 6 loci not previously linked to EOC risk. Upon conditioning on nearby known EOC GWAS-identified variants, the associations for 31 genes disappeared and three genes remained ( < 1.47 × 10). These data identify one novel locus ) and 34 genes at 13 known EOC risk loci associated with EOC risk, providing new insights into EOC carcinogenesis. Transcriptomic analysis of a large cohort confirms earlier GWAS loci and reveals FZD4 as a novel locus associated with EOC risk. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0951DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6139053PMC
September 2018
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