IMR Press / EJGO / Volume 37 / Issue 5 / DOI: 10.12892/ejgo3121.2016
Open Access Review
The significance of the pluripotency and cancer stem cell-related marker NANOG in diagnosis and treatmentof ovarian carcinoma
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1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2 Reproductive Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
3 Unit of Gynecologic Pathology and Cytology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Eur. J. Gynaecol. Oncol. 2016 , 37(5), 604–612; https://doi.org/10.12892/ejgo3121.2016
Published: 10 October 2016
Abstract

Ovarian cancer is among the most common gynecologic cancers and unfortunately the most common cause of death from gynecologic malignancies. Due to few early symptoms and insufficient screening programs, an early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is very difficult and new biomarkers related to early ovarian carcinogenesis are needed. In the last years a growing scientific knowledge about cancer stem cells and their markers opened a new perspective on screening and early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The transcription factor NANOG is not only a pluripotency and cancer stem cell-related marker, but also promotes cancer stem cell-like characteristics of tumor, tumor growth, dissemination, immune evasion, and resistance to conventional therapy. The recent data showed that small stem cells resembling very small embryonic-like stem cells are present in the ovarian surface epithelium of adult human ovaries. These cells expressed several genes related to primordial germ cells, germinal lineage, and pluripotency, including NANOG, therefore their involvement in the manifestation of ovarian cancer are not excluded. As majority of cancer cells within a tumor are non tumorigenic, the therapies targeting these cells cause tumor regression, but the survived cancer stem cells regenerate the tumor, so tumor relapse or reoccur. The eradication of cancer actually requires the elimination of cancer stem cells, therefore new strategies in treatment that specifically target cancer stem cells are urgently needed. Although the therapeutic efficacy of targeting NANOG as a cancer treatment method is still in experimental phase, the gene therapy with small interfering RNA or short hairpin RNA have already shown some promising therapeutic potential. The authors can conclude that NANOG represents a promising diagnostic marker and agent for target therapy of ovarian cancer.
Keywords
Ovarian cancer
Cancer stem cells
NANOG
Chemoresistance
Target therapy
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