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Estrogens and the Schrödinger’s Cat in the Ovarian Tumor Microenvironment

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rebecca A Previs
Cancers 2021, 13(19), 5011;
Received: 4 August 2021 / Revised: 29 September 2021 / Accepted: 2 October 2021 / Published: 6 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immune Microenviroment in Gynecologic Malignancies)
Ovarian cancer is a complex pathology for which we require effective screening and therapeutical strategies. Apart from the cancer cell portion, there exist plastic immune and non-immune cell populations, jointly constituting the context-adaptive tumor microenvironment, which is pivotal in tumorigenesis. Estrogens might be synthesized in the ovarian tumor tissue and actively contribute to the shaping of an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Current immune therapies have limited effectiveness as a multitude of factors influence the outcome. A thorough understanding of the ovarian cancer biology is crucial in the efforts to reestablish homeostasis.
Ovarian cancer is a heterogeneous disease affecting the aging ovary, in concert with a complex network of cells and signals, together representing the ovarian tumor microenvironment. As in the “Schrödinger’s cat” thought experiment, the context-dependent constituents of the—by the time of diagnosis—well-established tumor microenvironment may display a tumor-protective and -destructive role. Systemic and locally synthesized estrogens contribute to the formation of a pro-tumoral microenvironment that enables the sustained tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. Here we focus on the estrogen biosynthetic and metabolic pathways in ovarian cancer and elaborate their actions on phenotypically plastic, estrogen-responsive, aging immune cells of the tumor microenvironment, altogether highlighting the multicomponent-connectedness and complexity of cancer, and contributing to a broader understanding of the ovarian cancer biology. View Full-Text
Keywords: ovarian cancer; estrogens; immunosuppressive microenvironment; plasticity ovarian cancer; estrogens; immunosuppressive microenvironment; plasticity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gjorgoska, M.; Rižner, T.L. Estrogens and the Schrödinger’s Cat in the Ovarian Tumor Microenvironment. Cancers 2021, 13, 5011.

AMA Style

Gjorgoska M, Rižner TL. Estrogens and the Schrödinger’s Cat in the Ovarian Tumor Microenvironment. Cancers. 2021; 13(19):5011.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gjorgoska, Marija, and Tea Lanišnik Rižner. 2021. "Estrogens and the Schrödinger’s Cat in the Ovarian Tumor Microenvironment" Cancers 13, no. 19: 5011.

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