Treatment can be personalized based on the growth pattern of mucinous ovarian carcinoma

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Infiltrative growth pattern of mucinous ovarian carcinoma cells is associated with poor prognosis and can help select patients at early stage, who can benefit from adjuvant therapy. The higher expression o certain genes (THBS2 and TAGLN) in the infiltrative subtype also suggests adverse prognosis.

Mucinous ovarian cancer is a rare type of ovarian cancer, which produce thick mucus and may arise either from the ovaries or gastrointestinal tract. They are hard to diagnose and treat once the cancer spreads beyond the ovaries.

These cancer cells have two patterns of invasion – infiltrative and expansile, which refers to how cancer cells organize themselves. In infiltrative pattern, the cancer cells spread unevenly, in a haphazard way through the ovarian tissue. In the expansile pattern, cells expand through the tissue in a more orderly manner. Infiltrative pattern of invasion is associated with poorer health outcomes, but expansile pattern is associated with better prognoses. Knowing the pattern of invasion helps identify patients who could benefit from additional chemotherapy following surgery to remove their ovaries.

Moreover, patients with higher expression of two genes, THBS2 and TAGLN in their tumours, had poorer overall survival.

Hence, determining the pattern of invasion of mucinous ovarian cancer cells and the expression of genes can help select the patients who can benefit from adjuvant therapy. With the knowledge of the gene expressions, targeted drugs can also be developed.


Meagher NS, et al. Gene expression profiling of mucinous ovarian tumors and comparison with upper and lower gastrointestinal tumors identifies markers associated with adverse outcomes. Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 12:CCR-22-1206.

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