Ovarian cancer is one of the most prevalent gynecological cancers, having a relatively high fatality rate with a low five-year chance of survival when detected in late stages. The early detection, treatment and prevention of metastasis is pertinent and a pressing research priority as many patients are diagnosed only in stage three of ovarian cancer. Despite surgical interventions, targeted immunotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy, relapses are significantly higher than other cancers, suggesting the dire need to identify the root cause of metastasis and relapse and present more precise therapeutic options. In this review, we first describe types of ovarian cancers, the existing markers and treatment modalities. As ovarian cancer is driven and sustained by an elusive and highly chemoresistant population of cancer stem cells (CSCs), their role and the associated signature markers are exhaustively discussed. Non-invasive diagnostic markers, which can be identified early in the disease using circulating tumor cells (CTCs), are also described. The mechanism of the self-renewal, chemoresistance and metastasis of ovarian CSCs is regulated by the Wnt signaling pathway. Thus, its role in ovarian cancer in promoting stemness and metastasis is delineated. Based on our findings, we propose a novel strategy of Wnt inhibition using a well-known Wnt antagonist, secreted frizzled related protein 4 (sFRP4), wherein short micropeptides derived from the whole protein can be used as powerful inhibitors. The latest approaches to early diagnosis and novel treatment strategies emphasized in this review will help design precision medicine approaches for an effective capture and destruction of highly aggressive ovarian cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research