Growing Body of Evidence Says Ovarian Cancer Originates in Fallopian Tubes

07-Mar-2018

Supporting the findings of researcher Joanna Burdette, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago (a two-time JWS Ovarian Cancer Fund grant recipient), are two new studies published recently in the Journal of Nature Communications.  As with Burdette’s research, the newly-published studies also suggest that ovarian cancer actually originates in the fallopian tubes and not in the ovaries.

The first study, conducted at the Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York City, compared lesions and tumors from women with ovarian cancer to tissue samples from the fallopian tubes and ovaries of healthy women.  The finding: in almost every case the cancerous cells were most similar to the fallopian tube tissue.

Similarly, a study underway at Johns Hopkins University has been examining lesions and tumors that appear in the fallopian tubes and are measuring the length of time before they metastasize.   The researchers estimate that seven years elapse between the development of early fallopian tube lesions and ovarian cancer.  Then, within a year, the cancer quickly spreads, indicating that early intervention may help prevent the cancer from metastasizing.  This may mean removing a patient’s fallopian tubes first (earlier) and not removing the ovaries until much later.

Both studies are working to reproduce their findings among a wider sample size of women and all types of ovarian cancer.


Maryann Rasmussen (left) and Thomas Schaffner (right), JWS Ovarian Cancer Fund, present grant check to Dr. Joanna Burdette (center) and team at her lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, April 2017. 


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