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Dana-Farber, Broad Team Uses shRNA Screen to ID Ovarian Cancer-Related Gene

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Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in collaboration with the Broad Institute, published research this week showing that a genome-scale shRNA study of more than 100 cancer cell lines revealed previously unknown lineage-specific dependencies in ovarian cancer.

The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers used a pool of more than 54,000 shRNAs contained in a library developed by the Broad's RNAi Consortium (GSN 8/5/2010) to study the cell lines, which included 25 ovarian cancer tumors. The work revealed 54 genes that are essential for ovarian cancer proliferation and viability.

One gene in particular, PAX8, was found to be amplified in 16 percent of high-grade serious ovarian cancers, and expressed at higher levels in ovarian tumors, according to the paper.

“Suppression of PAX8 selectively induces apoptotic cell death of ovarian cancer cells,” the study's authors wrote.

In addition to identifying PAX8 as an ovarian lineage-specific dependency, the findings demonstrate that “the integration of genome-scale functional and structural studies provides an efficient path to identify dependencies of specific cancer types on particular genes and pathways,” the authors added.

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