Systems-level characterization of ovarian cancer metabolism
Vermeersch, Kathleen A.
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The purpose of this thesis was to characterize cancer metabolism in vitro using epithelial ovarian cancer as a model on an untargeted, systems-level, basis with particular attention paid to the difference between cancer stem cell metabolism and cancer cell metabolism. Two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was used to measure the metabolite profiles of the ovarian cancer and cancer stem cell lines under normal baseline conditions and also under chemotherapeutic and environmental perturbations. These two cell lines exhibited significant metabolic differences under normal baseline conditions and results demonstrated that metabolism in the ovarian cancer stem cell line was distinct from that of more differentiated isogenic cancer cells, showing similarities to stem cell metabolism that suggest the potential importance of metabolism for the cancer stem cell phenotype. Glucose deprivation, hypoxia, and ischemia all perturbed ovarian cancer and cancer stem cell metabolism, but not in the same ways between the cell types. Chemotherapeutic treatment with docetaxel caused metabolic changes mostly in amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism in ovarian cancer cells, while ovarian cancer stem cell metabolism was not affected by docetaxel. Overall, these metabolic differences between the two cell types will deepen our understanding of the metabolic changes occurring within the in vivo tumor and will help drive development of cancer stem cell targeted therapeutics.