Notch3 gene amplification in ovarian cancer

Joon T Park, Mei Li, Kentaro Nakayama, Tsui-Lien Mao, Ben Davidson, Zhen Zhang, Robert J Kurman, Charles G Eberhart, Ie-Ming Shih, Tian-Li Wang
Cancer Research 2006 June 15, 66 (12): 6312-8
Gene amplification is one of the common mechanisms that activate oncogenes. In this study, we used single nucleotide polymorphism array to analyze genome-wide DNA copy number alterations in 31 high-grade ovarian serous carcinomas, the most lethal gynecologic neoplastic disease in women. We identified an amplicon at 19p13.12 in 6 of 31 (19.5%) ovarian high-grade serous carcinomas. This amplification was validated by digital karyotyping, quantitative real-time PCR, and dual-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. Comprehensive mRNA expression analysis of all 34 genes within the minimal amplicon identified Notch3 as the gene that showed most significant overexpression in amplified tumors compared with nonamplified tumors. Furthermore, Notch3 DNA copy number is positively correlated with Notch3 protein expression based on parallel immunohistochemistry and FISH studies in 111 high-grade tumors. Inactivation of Notch3 by both gamma-secretase inhibitor and Notch3-specific small interfering RNA suppressed cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in the cell lines that overexpressed Notch3 but not in those with minimal amount of Notch3 expression. These results indicate that Notch3 is required for proliferation and survival of Notch3-amplified tumors and inactivation of Notch3 can be a potential therapeutic approach for ovarian carcinomas.

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