Changes in the expression of genes involved in the ovarian function of rats caused by daily exposure to 3-methylcholanthrene and their prevention by α-naphthoflavone
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all gynecologic malignancies because women commonly present with advanced stage disease and develop chemotherapy refractory tumors. While cytoreductive surgery followed by platinum based chemotherapy are initially effective, ovarian tumors have a high propensity to recur highlighting the distinct need for novel therapeutics to improve outcomes for affected women. The Notch signaling pathway plays an established role in embryologic development and deregulation of this signaling cascade has been linked to many cancers. Recent genomic profiling of serous ovarian carcinoma revealed that Notch pathway alterations are among the most prevalent detected genomic changes. A growing body of scientific literature has confirmed heightened Notch signaling activity in ovarian carcinoma, and has utilized in vitro and in vivo models to suggest that targeting this pathway with gamma secretase inhibitors (GSIs) leads to anti-tumor effects. While it is currently unknown if Notch pathway inhibition can offer clinical benefit to women with ovarian cancer, several GSIs are currently in phase I and II trials across many disease sites including ovary. This review will provide background on Notch pathway function and will focus on the pre-clinical literature that links altered Notch signaling to ovarian cancer progression.