“Wild idea” opens possible new frontier for preventing ovarian cancer

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Images of various stages in the evolution of an ovary.

These findings suggest that targeting ovarian fibrosis might be a new option to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

A laboratory study published in Clinical Cancer Research offers a new hypothesis about how ovarian cancer forms and suggests how it might be prevented.

The study is the first to show that the natural stiffening of the ovaries called fibrosis occurs with age. It also suggests that the diabetes drug metformin may be able to halt this process.

“Fibrosis happens when body tissues are repeatedly injured and inflamed, leaving behind hard collagen fibers that pile up over time, like a scar on the skin,” said Dr. Curtis McCloskey, the lead author. “Cancer cells tend to like growing in these fibrotic tissues.”

Dr. McCloskey performed the research while he was a PhD student in Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden’s lab at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

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