Paediatrics Publications

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Scientific Reports





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High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is an aggressive malignancy often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Although most HGSOC patients respond initially to debulking surgery combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy, many ultimately relapse with platinum-resistant disease. Thus, improving outcomes requires new ways of limiting metastasis and eradicating residual disease. We identified previously that Liver kinase B1 (LKB1) and its substrate NUAK1 are implicated in EOC spheroid cell viability and are required for efficient metastasis in orthotopic mouse models. Here, we sought to identify additional signalling pathways altered in EOC cells due to LKB1 or NUAK1 loss-of-function. Transcriptome analysis revealed that inflammatory signalling mediated by NF-κB transcription factors is hyperactive due to LKB1-NUAK1 loss in HGSOC cells and spheroids. Upregulated NF-κB signalling due to NUAK1 loss suppresses reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and sustains cell survival in spheroids. NF-κB signalling is also activated in HGSOC precursor fallopian tube secretory epithelial cell spheroids, and is further enhanced by NUAK1 loss. Finally, immunohistochemical analysis of OVCAR8 xenograft tumors lacking NUAK1 displayed increased RelB expression and nuclear staining. Our results support the idea that NUAK1 and NF-κB signalling pathways together regulate ROS and inflammatory signalling, supporting cell survival during each step of HGSOC pathogenesis. We propose that their combined inhibition may be efficacious as a novel therapeutic strategy for advanced HGSOC.