Researchers Build Deeper Understanding of Mucinous Ovarian Cancer

Researchers and scientists have stated that it can be difficult to diagnose and treat patients with mucinous ovarian cancer. In fact, because the cancer is often not found until it has metastasized, it is associated with relatively poor outcomes. However, a global study helped develop a deeper understanding of mucinous ovarian cancer, which could assist in optimizing treatment options. According to Medical XPress, the research team determined two invasion patterns which can help to predict prognoses and treatment approaches. 

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, explored tissue samples from 604 individuals with mucinous ovarian cancer. Researchers focused on invasion patterns, as well as gene expression. In terms of invasion patterns, the researchers found that women who had expansile invasion typically had better outcomes; this pattern has cancerous tissue spreading more evenly. Those whose cancer spreads unevenly through tissue (infiltrative invasion) often have worse outcomes. The researchers believe that oncologists can use these patterns to better understand what patients are at risk of worse outcomes and may need more intensive treatment. 

Further, when exploring the genetics, the research team found that higher THBS2 or TAGLN gene expression correlated with worse prognoses and earlier mortality. 

Although more research is needed, these findings could help prompt better detection, management, and treatment research in the future. 

What is Mucinous Ovarian Cancer?

There are multiple forms of ovarian cancer, a type of cancer which forms in the ovary. For example, ovarian cancer may be an epithelial tumor, germ cell carcinoma tumor, stromal carcinoma tumor, or small cell carcinoma of the ovary. Mucinous ovarian cancer is a rare subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer, comprising around 2-3% of ovarian cancers. The University of Chicago Medicine explains that in mucinous cancer, the cells are enlarged and fluid-filled:

Meaning that most of the tumor is made up of cells coated in mucus.

Around 80% of mucinous ovarian cancer tumors are secondary, meaning they have spread from another area of the body; the remaining 20% are considered primary tumors. This cancer is most common in people under 40 years old. Smoking is another risk factors. Symptoms relating to this cancer can include:

  • A large mass on the ovary
  • Bloating
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Fatigue
  • Pelvic pain
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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