BMP9 Signalling in Ovarian Cancer

  • Peter Walsh

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Ovarian Cancer is the 5th most common cause of cancer death in women and the second most common gynaecological cancer in the UK. Worldwide, around 152,000 women were estimated to have died from ovarian cancer in 2012. Survival rates for women with epithelial ovarian cancer have not significantly changed since platinum-based treatment was introduced over 30 years ago. This is particularly disconcerting considering the fact that there is a less than 5% five year survival rate for patients diagnosed with late stage high grade serous ovarian cancer. This thesis examines the role of BMP signalling in ovarian cancer using in vitro cancer cell models. It builds upon the initial published work by the Inman lab identifying autocrine BMP9 as a promoter of ovarian cancer cell proliferation. The findings of Chapters 3-5 provide strong evidence indicating BMP9 as a context specific modulator of ovarian cancer cell proliferation. This significantly builds upon on the sole pro-proliferative BMP9 growth response previously described. Responding cell lines were subjected to a microarray with and without BMP9 treatment In order to determine early BMP target genes which were subsequently transiently knocked down in order to determine their role in the aetiology of said growth phenotype. ID1 gene expression was found to significantly contribute to the BMP9 proproliferative phenotype. Moreover several other BMP genes identified significantly alter basal cell proliferation. It was subsequently determined that BMP9 implemented a cell growth phenotype by negating apoptosis. .Excitingly, preliminary evidence suggests a marked reduction in detectable levels of a recently described Bax isoform, Bax β that coincide with BMP9 addition and the resultant anti-apoptotic phenotype observed. This is very interesting as no prior evidence correlating the BMP family and Bax β currently exists. These findings provide an enhanced understanding of BMP9s contribution to ovarian cancer pathogenesis that may result in the development of effective and targeted therapeutic interventions upon further stratification of the contextuality of the BMP induced growth response.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorGareth Inman (Supervisor)


    • Cancer research
    • Bone Morphogenetic Protein
    • Ovarian Cancer
    • SMAD
    • BMP
    • BMP and the Hallmarks of Cancer
    • Cell signalling
    • signalling pathway
    • Apoptosis

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