CM Beaufort, JCA Helmijr, AM Piskorz, M Hoogstraat, K Ruigrok-Ritstier, N Besselink, M Murtaza, WFJ van Ĳcken, AAJ Heine, M Smid, MJ Koudijs, JD Brenton, EMJJ Berns, J Helleman
Epithelial ovarian cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease and remains the most lethal gynaecological malignancy in the Western world. Therapeutic approaches need to account for inter-patient and intra-tumoural heterogeneity and detailed characterization of in vitro models representing the different histological and molecular ovarian cancer subtypes is critical to enable reliable preclinical testing. There are approximately 100 publicly available ovarian cancer cell lines but their cellular and molecular characteristics are largely undescribed. We have characterized 39 ovarian cancer cell lines under uniform conditions for growth characteristics, mRNA/microRNA expression, exon sequencing, drug response for clinically-relevant therapeutics and collated all available information on the original clinical features and site of origin. We tested for statistical associations between the cellular and molecular features of the lines and clinical features. Of the 39 ovarian cancer cell lines, 14 were assigned as high-grade serous, four serous-type, one low-grade serous and 20 non-serous type. Three morphological subtypes: Epithelial (n = 21), Round (n = 7) and Spindle (n = 12) were identified that showed distinct biological and molecular characteristics, including overexpression of cell movement and migration-associated genes in the Spindle subtype. Comparison with the original clinical data showed association of the spindle-like tumours with metastasis, advanced stage, suboptimal debulking and poor prognosis. In addition, the expression profiles of Spindle, Round and Epithelial morphologies clustered with the previously described C1-stromal, C5-mesenchymal and C4 ovarian subtype expression profiles respectively. Comprehensive profiling of 39 ovarian cancer cell lines under controlled, uniform conditions demonstrates clinically relevant cellular and genomic characteristics. This data provides a rational basis for selecting models to develop specific treatment approaches for histological and molecular subtypes of ovarian cancer.