Chuan He, PhD & Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD

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Chuan He, PhD & Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD

Chuan He, PhD & Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD

About Project



Most ovarian cancers (80%) are detected at an advanced stage, when the 5-year survival rate is only at 20-30%, contributing to its high mortality rate. Therefore, there is an urgent and unmet clinical need to develop sensitive and specific ovarian cancer biomarkers. Blood tests, or “liquid biopsies,” offer a minimally invasive tool for cancer detection, and new methods of analyzing circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) isolated from the blood are gaining traction. In this proposal, Professor Chuan He and Professor Ernst Lengyel will identify and evaluate epigenetic-modified genomic regions as biomarkers that distinguish OvCa from benign ovarian masses. The recently invented linear amplification bisulfite sequencing (LABS-seq) technology will be used to map the epigenetic marks 5-methylcytosine (5mC) on cfDNA. LABS-seq is the only available means to map 5mC on less than one nanogram of cfDNA, which can be easily extracted from 1 mL of patient plasma. The team will apply LABS-seq to 400 cfDNA samples to identify new biomarkers for ovarian cancer detection. Additionally, we will compare 5mC to another epigenetic mark 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) to determine the best OvCa biomarker panel. We predict that these studies will result in a combined 5mC and 5hmC signature that distinguishes ovarian cancer cases from benign adnexal mass subjects. Once identified, these biomarkers will serve as the foundation for building an ovarian cancer clinical assay to test in larger clinical studies as a potential OvCa screening tool.

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November 12, 2021