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Open AccessArticle

Keratin-14 (KRT14) Positive Leader Cells Mediate Mesothelial Clearance and Invasion by Ovarian Cancer Cells

Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton 3168, Australia
Department of Molecular and Translational Sciences, Monash University, Clayton 3168, Australia
Bruker Biosciences Pty Ltd., Preston 3078, Australia
Department of Gynaecology Oncology Monash Health, Monash Medical Centre, Moorabbin 3189, Australia
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora 3083, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2019, 11(9), 1228;
Received: 4 July 2019 / Revised: 12 August 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 22 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ovarian Cancer Metastasis)
Epithelial ovarian cancer metastasis is driven by spheroids, which are heterogeneous cancer cell aggregates released from the primary tumour mass that passively disseminate throughout the peritoneal cavity to promote tumour spread, disease recurrence, and acquired chemoresistance. Despite their clinical importance, the molecular events that control spheroid attachment and invasion into underlying healthy tissues remain poorly understood. We examined a novel in vitro invasion model using imaging mass spectrometry to establish a “snapshot” of the spheroid/mesothelial interface. Amongst numerous adhesion-related proteins, we identified a sub-population of highly motile, invasive cells that expressed the basal epithelial marker KRT14 as an absolute determinant of invasive potential. The loss of KRT14 completely abrogated the invasive capacity, but had no impact on cell viability or proliferation, suggesting an invasion-specific role. Our data demonstrate KRT14 cells as an ovarian cancer “leader cell” phenotype underlying tumor invasion, and suggest their importance as a clinically relevant target in directed anti-tumour therapies. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer metastasis; leader cells; ovarian cancer; keratin 14; invasion cancer metastasis; leader cells; ovarian cancer; keratin 14; invasion
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Bilandzic, M.; Rainczuk, A.; Green, E.; Fairweather, N.; Jobling, T.W.; Plebanski, M.; Stephens, A.N. Keratin-14 (KRT14) Positive Leader Cells Mediate Mesothelial Clearance and Invasion by Ovarian Cancer Cells. Cancers 2019, 11, 1228.

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