The Department of Biomedicine
CCBIO seminar

CCBIO seminar: Kaisa Lehti

Crosstalk of desmoplastic tumor microenvironment and ovarian cancer in metastasis and therapy resistance

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Kaisa Lehti
Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim

Aggressive tumors are driven by complex crosstalk between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment (TME). To date, great efforts are invested to cancer intrinsic programs for precision cancer therapy. Yet, heterogeneous cancer cells at specific TMEs develop resistance to the drugs developed for mechanisms in cancer cells alone. An unresolved challenge thus remains in the mechanisms governing the multicellular crosstalk and aggressive cancer phenotypes in the 3D TMEs. In this seminar, I will discuss our approaches using tumor and stromal cells and tissues collected longitudinally from patients with ovarian cancer (OC), the lethal gynecological malignancy with progressively chemotherapy-resistant metastases, to explore the development of therapy resistance. By examining OC transcriptome and histology, we have described the fibrotic extracellular matrix (ECM) heterogeneity at primary tumors and distinct metastatic sites, prior and after chemotherapy. This data guides us in the development of clinically relevant ex vivo models for molecular mechanistic research. From there, the results are starting to suggest distinct stromal and tumor strategies and biomarker candidates for ECM and fibrosis pathway targeting to overcome therapy resistance.

Chairperson: Line Bjørge, CCBIO