Biological insights into chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer

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The majority of patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) initially respond to chemotherapy; however, most will develop chemotherapy resistance. Gene signatures may change with the development of chemotherapy resistance in this population, which is important as it may lead to tailored therapies. The objective of this study was to compare tumor gene expression profiles in patients before and after treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). Tumor samples were collected from six patients diagnosed with HGSOC before and after administration of NACT. RNA extraction and whole transcriptome sequencing was performed. Differential gene expression, hierarchical clustering, gene set enrichment analysis, and pathway analysis were examined in all of the samples. Tumor samples clustered based on exposure to chemotherapy as opposed to patient source. Pre-NACT samples were enriched for multiple pathways involving cell cycle growth. Post-NACT samples were enriched for drug transport and peroxisome pathways. Molecular subtypes based on the pre-NACT sample (differentiated, mesenchymal, proliferative and immunoreactive) changed in four patients after administration of NACT. Multiple changes in tumor gene expression profiles after exposure to NACT were identified from this pilot study and warrant further attention as they may indicate early changes in the development of chemotherapy resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2131
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2019



  • Chemotherapy resistance
  • Gene expression
  • Ovarian cancer

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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