The field of ovarian cancer research is undergoing major re-examination. Pathologists are defining the disease in new terms, and—having observed discrepancies in its actual cell(s) and tissue(s) of origin—are asking whether or not ovarian cancer truly represents one disease or a complex group of diseases. Further complexity was unveiled after sequencing a large number of high-grade serous ovarian cancer tumor samples (the most frequent ovarian cancer histotype). The experiments uncovered the existence of at least four different molecular subtypes, which standard pathological assessment cannot determine. These discoveries propelled a need for designing novel model systems to study the disease and to develop therapies tailored to the molecular genetics of the tumor. Though there has been no major breakthrough as regards overall patient survival of ovarian cancer in the last 50 years, this chapter summarizes the many challenges and fascinating opportunities scientists face in altering the fatal course of this disease.
Part of the book: Gynecologic Cancers