Date of Graduation
Masters of Science (MS)
Dr. Russell R. Broaddus
Dr. Karen H. Lu
Dr. Rosemarie E. Schmandt
Dr. Adrienne S. McCampbell
Dr. Kwong K. Wong
Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy and the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer among women. The molecular changes that distinguish normal endometrium from endometrial carcinoma are not thoroughly understood. Identification of these changes could potentially aid in identifying at-risk women who are especially prone to develop endometrial cancer, such as obese women and women with Lynch Syndrome.
A microarray analysis was performed using normal endometrium from thin and obese women and cancerous endometrium from obese women. We validated the differential expression of ten genes whose expression was significantly up-regulated or down-regulated using qRT-PCR. All of the genes had distinct expression levels depending on the endometrial carcinoma histotype. As a result, they could serve as molecular markers to distinguish between normal endometrium and endometrial cancer, as well as between low grade endometrial carcinomas and high grade endometrial carcinomas.
Two of the ten genes validated, HEYL and HES1, are down-stream targets of the Notch signaling pathway. HEYL and HES1 were identified by microarray and qRT-PCR to have a significant decrease in expression in endometrial carcinomas compared to normal endometrium. We further analyzed the differential expression of other components of the Notch signaling pathway, Notch4 and Jagged1. They were also identified by qRT-PCR to be significantly down-regulated in endometrial carcinomas compared to normal endometrium. Therefore, we believe the Notch signaling pathway to act as a tumor suppressor in endometrial carcinomas.
Notch pathway, endometrial cancer, tumor suppressor, Jagged1, Notch4, HEYL, HES1, gene validation