Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Cancer Biology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Khandan Keyomarsi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michelle Barton, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Chiao, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Craig Logsdon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D.


Among the gynecologic malignancies, epithelial ovarian tumors are the leading cause of death. For the past few decades, the only treatment has involved surgical resection of the tumor and/or general chemotherapies. In an attempt to improve treatment options, we have shown that several oncogenes that are overexpressed in ovarian cancer, PI3K, PKCiota, and cyclin E, all of which have been shown to lead to a poor prognosis and decreased survival, converge into a single pathway that could potentially be targeted therapeutically.

Because of the ability of either PKCiota or cyclin E overexpression to independently induce anchorage-independent growth, a hallmark of cancer, we hypothesized that targeting PKCiota expression in ovarian cancer cells could induce a reversion of the transformed phenotype through down regulation of cyclin E. To test this hypothesis, we first established a correlation between PKCiota and cyclin E in a panel of 20 ovarian cancer cell lines. To show that PKCiota is upstream of cyclin E, PKCiota was stably knocked down using RNAi in IGROV cells (epithelial ovarian cancer cell line of serous histology). The silencing of PKCiota resulted in decreased expression of cell cycle drivers, such as cyclin D1/E and CDK2/4, and an increase in p27. These alteration in the regulators of the cell cycle resulted in a decrease in both proliferation and anchorage-independent growth, which was specifically through cyclin E, as determined by a rescue experiment. We also found that the mechanism of cyclin E regulation by PKCiota was at the level of degradation rather than transcription. Using two inhibitors to PI3K, we found that both the active form of PKCiota and total cyclin E levels decreased, implying that the PKCiota/cyclin E pathway is downstream from PI3K. In conclusion, we have identified a novel pathway in epithelial ovarian tumorigenesis (PI3K à PKCiota à Cyclin E à anchorage-independent growth), which could potentially be targeted therapeutically.

Included in

Biology Commons