Development and Characterization of a Luciferase Labeled, Syngeneic Murine Model of Ovarian Cancer.


Despite advances in surgery and targeted therapies, the prognosis for women with high-grade serous ovarian cancer remains poor. Moreover, unlike other cancers, immunotherapy has minimally impacted outcomes in patients with ovarian cancer. Progress in this regard has been hindered by the lack of relevant syngeneic ovarian cancer models to study tumor immunity and evaluate immunotherapies. To address this problem, we developed a luciferase labeled murine model of high-grade serous ovarian cancer, STOSE.M1 luc. We defined its growth characteristics, immune cell repertoire, and response to anti PD-L1 immunotherapy. As with human ovarian cancer, we demonstrated that this model is poorly sensitive to immune checkpoint modulators. By developing the STOSE.M1 luc model, it will be possible to probe the mechanisms underlying resistance to immunotherapies and evaluate new therapeutic approaches to treat ovarian cancer.





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Publication Info

Russell, Shonagh, Felicia Lim, Pamela N Peters, Suzanne E Wardell, Regina Whitaker, Ching-Yi Chang, Rebecca A Previs, Donald P McDonnell, et al. (2022). Development and Characterization of a Luciferase Labeled, Syngeneic Murine Model of Ovarian Cancer. Cancers, 14(17). p. 4219. 10.3390/cancers14174219 Retrieved from

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Pamela Nicole Peters

Clinical Associate in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Suzanne E Wardell

Assistant Research Professor of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Throughout my career in science, my work has focused in aspects of steroid hormone (progesterone, estrogen, or androgen) receptor activity in breast and prostate cancers. These interests include not only mechanistic studies of receptor activity in treatment naive tumors, but also the role of these receptors in the evolution of resistance to current therapies.

Despite the development of improved therapies, breast cancer remains a leading cause of mortality in women. While a majority of breast cancers are estrogen receptor (ER) positive and respond to endocrine therapies such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors, as many as 50% of patients experience relapse and progression. Recent data has confirmed continued reliance of these cancers on ER signaling, validating this receptor as a therapeutic target even in a relapsed/metastatic setting. The focus of a majority of my work in breast cancer has been the mechanistic evaluation of methods to target ER activity in this setting of resistance, either through the development of improved receptor antagonists or through the identification of targets downstream of, or impinging upon, ER activity that can serve as secondary targets in this setting. 

Similarly, the androgen receptor (AR) remains a therapeutic target in prostate cancer throughout treatment progression to end stage prostate cancer. Although several AR antagonists have been developed and approved for the treatment of prostate cancer, AR overexpression, as well as mutation and/or truncation, are observed clinically and have been shown mechanistically to render the current AR antagonists ineffective in the advanced prostate cancer setting. As with our work in breast cancer, we have identified pathways downstream of AR that are essential to prostate cancer progression, and our current work is intended to devise treatment regimens that will be effective in lieu of, or together with, AR antagonists.

In my role as a research assistant professor, I have conducted several animal studies evaluating next-to-clinic therapeutics in clinically predictive models of advanced breast and prostate cancer that I have developed throughout the past several years of studies. The entry of some of these therapeutics, or of mechanistically related molecules, into clinical trials in these patient populations validates this approach.


Rebecca A Previs

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Donald Patrick McDonnell

Glaxo-Wellcome Distinguished Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology, in the School of Medicine

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The research in our group is focused on the development and application of mechanism based approaches to identify novel therapeutics for use in the treatment and prevention of hormonally responsive cancers. Specifically we are interested in the pharmaceutical exploitation of the estrogen and androgen receptors as therapeutic targets in breast and prostate cancers and in defining how these receptors influence the pathogenesis of these diseases. These efforts have led to the discovery of several drugs that are currently being evaluated in the clinic as cancer therapeutics, and to the identification of potential biomarkers and predictors of response that can help to target the use of these new drugs. Most recently we have explored approaches to treat triple negative breast cancer and have identified an important pathway that links obesity/dyslipidemia and cancer risk.

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