From Science Daily:

Ovarian cancer is a deadly disease, one that’s hard to detect until it has progressed significantly. More than 75 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have metastasis at the time of diagnosis, resulting in a low five-year survival rate of less than 30 percent.

A large number of studies have shown that an increased body mass index (BMI) is associated with a greater risk for ovarian cancer with worse overall survival. More than 35 percent of women in the United States are obese, putting them at increased risk for the cancer.

However, the influence of obesity on ovarian cancer metastasis had not been evaluated. Researchers from the University of Notre Dame and its affiliated Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) unveil important new insights into the relationship between ovarian cancer and obesity.

M. Sharon Stack, Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the HCRI and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, notes that ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic malignancy in the U.S. The researchers set out to determine whether obesity contributes to ovarian cancer metastatic success. In other words, are tumor cells better able to successfully metastasize when the “host” is obese versus lean?

“Ovarian cancers metastasize through a distinct mechanism that results in large numbers of lesions anchored throughout the abdominal cavity, making surgery challenging,” Stack said

Stack and Harper researcher Yueying Liu led a team of researchers that used an integrative approach combining three-dimensional cell culture models, tissue explants and mouse models to…

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