KM Archibald, H Kulbe, J Kwong, P Chakravarty, J Temple, T Chaplin, MB Flak, IA McNeish, S Deen, JD Brenton, BD Young, F Balkwill
Early genetic events in the development of high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) may define the molecular basis of the profound structural and numerical instability of chromosomes in this disease. To discover candidate genetic changes we sequentially passaged cells from a karyotypically normal hTERT immortalised human ovarian surface epithelial line (IOSE25) resulting in the spontaneous formation of colonies in soft agar. Cell lines transformed ovarian surface epithelium 1 and 4 (TOSE 1 and 4) established from these colonies had an abnormal karyotype and altered morphology, but were not tumourigenic in immunodeficient mice. TOSE cells showed loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at TP53, increased nuclear p53 immunoreactivity and altered expression profile of p53 target genes. The parental IOSE25 cells contained a missense, heterozygous R175H mutation in TP53, whereas TOSE cells had LOH at the TP53 locus with a new R273H mutation at the previous wild-type TP53 allele. Cytogenetic and array CGH analysis of TOSE cells also revealed a focal genomic amplification of CXCR4, a chemokine receptor commonly expressed by HGSOC cells. TOSE cells had increased functional CXCR4 protein and its abrogation reduced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression, as well as colony size and number. The CXCR4 ligand, CXCL12, was epigenetically silenced in TOSE cells and its forced expression increased TOSE colony size. TOSE cells had other cytogenetic changes typical of those seen in HGSOC ovarian cancer cell lines and biopsies. In addition, enrichment of CXCR4 pathway in expression profiles from HGSOC correlated with enrichment of a mutated TP53 gene expression signature and of EGFR pathway genes. Our data suggest that mutations in TP53 and amplification of the CXCR4 gene locus may be early events in the development of HGSOC, and associated with chromosomal instability.