SL Cooke, CKY Ng, N Melnyk, MJ Garcia, T Hardcastle, J Temple, S Langdon, D Huntsman, JD Brenton
Resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer is poorly understood. Evolutionary models of cancer predict that, following treatment, resistance emerges either because of outgrowth of an intrinsically resistant sub-clone or evolves in residual disease under the selective pressure of treatment. To investigate genetic evolution in high-grade serous (HGS) ovarian cancers, we first analysed cell line series derived from three cases of HGS carcinoma before and after platinum resistance had developed (PEO1, PEO4 and PEO6; PEA1 and PEA2; and PEO14 and PEO23). Analysis with 24-colour fluorescence in situ hybridisation and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) showed mutually exclusive endoreduplication and loss of heterozygosity events in clones present at different time points in the same individual. This implies that platinum-sensitive and -resistant disease was not linearly related, but shared a common ancestor at an early stage of tumour development. Array CGH analysis of six paired pre- and post-neoadjuvant treatment HGS samples from the CTCR-OV01 clinical study did not show extensive copy number differences, suggesting that one clone was strongly dominant at presentation. These data show that cisplatin resistance in HGS carcinoma develops from pre-existing minor clones but that enrichment for these clones is not apparent during short-term chemotherapy treatment.