Research Papers:

The ovarian cancer oncobiome

Sagarika Banerjee, Tian Tian, Zhi Wei, Natalie Shih, Michael D. Feldman, George Coukos, James C. Alwine and Erle S. Robertson _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:36225-36245. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16717

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Sagarika Banerjee1, Tian Tian2, Zhi Wei2, Natalie Shih3, Michael D. Feldman3, James C. Alwine4, George Coukos5, Erle S. Robertson1

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

2Department of Computer Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, United States of America

3Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

4Department of Cancer Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

5Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland

Correspondence to:

Erle S. Robertson, email: [email protected]

Keywords: oncobiome, microbiome, ovarian cancer, pathochip, next generation sequencing

Received: August 15, 2016     Accepted: March 08, 2017     Published: March 30, 2017


Humans and other mammals are colonized by microbial agents across the kingdom which can represent a unique microbiome pattern. Dysbiosis of the microbiome has been associated with pathology including cancer. We have identified a microbiome signature unique to ovarian cancers, one of the most lethal malignancies of the female reproductive system, primarily because of its asymptomatic nature during the early stages in development. We screened ovarian cancer samples along with matched, and non-matched control samples using our pan-pathogen array (PathoChip), combined with capture-next generation sequencing. The results show a distinct group of viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic signatures of high significance in ovarian cases. Further analysis shows specific viral integration sites within the host genome of tumor samples, which may contribute to the carcinogenic process. The ovarian cancer microbiome signature provides insights for the development of targeted therapeutics against ovarian cancers.

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