Ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) is considered to give rise to epithelial ovarian carcinomas (EOCs). To elucidate early processes contributing to the development of EOCs from the OSE, two batches of primary human OSE cells were transduced with non-viral human genes (mutant Cdk4, cyclin D1 and hTERT) so as to efficiently establish normal diploid OSE cells without chromosomal instability. Then defined genetic alterations frequently observed in EOCs were transduced into the OSE cells. A combination of p53 inactivation and oncogenic K ras transduction did not confer tumor-forming ability in immunodeficient mice, though additional transduction of Akt or combined transduction of c-myc with bcl-2 did result in tumor formation. In the latter case, tumors demonstrated phenotypes reminiscent of human EOCs, including cytokeratin expression, a highly aggressive phenotype, metastatic behavior and formation of ascites. These results indicate that inactivation of p53 and activation of the Ras pathway play critical roles in ovarian carcinogenesis in co-operation with the Akt or c-myc pathways. This first in vitro model system faithfully recapitulating the development of EOCs using normal human OSE cells should greatly facilitate further studies of EOCs.
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