Exploring the role of fallopian ciliated cells in the pathogenesis of high-grade serous ovarian cancer

Michela Coan, Gian Luca Rampioni Vinciguerra, Laura Cesaratto, Emanuela Gardenal, Riccardo Bianchet, Erik Dassi, Andrea Vecchione, Gustavo Baldassarre, Riccardo Spizzo, Milena Sabrina Nicoloso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


High-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women and the first among gynecological malignancies. Despite an initial response to standard chemotherapy, most HGSOC patients relapse. To improve treatment options, we must continue investigating tumor biology. Tumor characteristics (e.g., risk factors and epidemiology) are valuable clues to accomplish this task. The two most frequent risk factors for HGSOC are the lifetime number of ovulations, which is associated with increased oxidative stress in the pelvic area caused by ovulation fluid, and a positive family history due to genetic factors. In the attempt to identify novel genetic factors (i.e., genes) associated with HGSOC, we observed that several genes in linkage with HGSOC are expressed in the ciliated cells of the fallopian tube. This finding made us hypothesize that ciliated cells, despite not being the cell of origin for HGSOC, may take part in HGSOC tumor initiation. Specifically, malfunction of the ciliary beat impairs the laminar fluid flow above the fallopian tube epithelia, thus likely reducing the clearance of oxidative stress caused by follicular fluid. Herein, we review the up-to-date findings dealing with HGSOC predisposition with the hypothesis that fallopian ciliated cells take part in HGSOC onset. Finally, we review the up-to-date literature concerning genes that are located in genomic loci associated with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) predisposition that are expressed by the fallopian ciliated cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2512
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018


  • C20orf85
  • CCDC170
  • Ciliated cells
  • DNAAF1
  • Epithelial ovarian cancer
  • LRP2BP
  • LRRC46
  • MARCH10
  • Predisposition
  • RSPH10B2
  • SPAG6
  • STK33
  • TPPP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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