Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic malignancies yet the underlying pathophysiology is not clearly established. Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) has long been considered a heterogeneous disease with respect to histopathology, molecular biology, and clinical outcome. Treatment of ovarian cancer includes a combination of cytoreductive surgery and combination chemotherapy, with platinums and taxanes. Despite initial success, over 75% of patients with advanced disease will relapse around 18 months and the overall 5-year survival is approximately 50%. Cancer cells are known to be under intrinsic oxidative stress, which alters their metabolic activity and reduces apoptosis. Epithelial ovarian cancer has been shown to manifest a persistent pro-oxidant state as evident by the upregulation of several key oxidant enzymes in EOC tissues and cells. In the light of our scientific research and the most recent experimental and clinical observations, this chapter provides the reader with up to date most relevant findings on the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis and prognosis of ovarian cancer, as well as a novel mechanism of apoptosis/survival in EOC cells.
Part of the book: Ovarian Cancer