Sampling of fallopian tube cells for functional and genotypic characterization

Principal Investigator: Dr Filipe Correia Martins, CRUK Cambridge Institute
Funded by: CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme Pump Priming Awards 2020

High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the commonest form of ovarian cancer, originates in the fallopian tubes (FTs) and is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when options for curative treatment are limited, leading to low survival rates (1‐3).

Our multi‐institutional team is analysing single‐cell molecular profiles from FT samples derived from patients at low and high-risk of developing HGSOC in order to establish if prevalence of somatic copy number alteration (SCNAs) per cell could be used to inform risk stratification. We analysed different cohorts with multiregional sequencing data from HGSOC and defined clonal tumour‐initiating SCNAs. We aim to identify those in FT cells from normal and at‐risk individuals and anticipate they will serve as sensitive markers for early detection of high risk tumour initiating cells.

This proof of concept study will support the aims above by:

  1. Defining what the efficiency of different cell‐sampling methods are;
  2. Establishing the viability of the sampled FT cells and their ability to clonally expand in vitro
  3. Establishing organoid cultures, where clonal expansion of single cells would allow to define specific mutation profiles and how they associate with rate of chromosomal segregation errors or the presence of specific somatic copy number alterations (SCNAs).