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Unraveling Tumor-immune Heterogeneity in Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Katherine Mager, MD

Katherine Mager, MD, Assistant Professor in Roswell Park’s Department of Gynecologic Oncology, recently was part of a team that published a study on how unraveling tumor-immune heterogeneity in advanced ovarian cancer uncovers the immunogenic effect of chemotherapy. 

In metastatic cancer, the degree of heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment and its molecular underpinnings remains largely unstudied. 

Katherine Mager, MD

“So, to characterize the tumor–immune interface at baseline and during neoadjuvant chemotherapy in high-grade serous ovarian cancer, we performed immunogenomic analysis of treatment-naïve and paired samples from before and after chemotherapy,” Dr. Mager says.

The team found that immune-cell-excluded and inflammatory microenvironments coexist within the same individuals and within the same tumor sites. This indicates ubiquitous variability in immune cell infiltration. 

You can read more about the study, titled “Unraveling tumor–immune heterogeneity in advanced ovarian cancer uncovers immunogenic effect of chemotherapy” and published in Nature Geneticshere

Dr. Mager now is finishing an extension of this project, looking at the protein-level expression of immune markers in patients before and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. 

“In a small data set, chemotherapy does not cause uniform change in immune cell populations overall, but rather leads to seemingly patient-specific modulation,” she says. “If confirmed in a larger data set, subgroups of tumors feature patterns that may imply rational combination therapies.” 



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