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Dr. Kai Doberstein | Prof. Dr. Marc Sütterlin

The focus of our laboratory is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the molecular factors that drive the development of ovarian cancer and to develop new therapeutic approaches. Research over the last decade has led to the paradigm shift, showing that serous ovarian cancers originate in the secretory cells of the fallopian tube (FT) and not in the ovary. We are studying how genetic factors and the microenvironment can trigger the dissemination and metastasization of precursor lesions to the ovary and the peritoneum. To study those mechanisms we perform comprehensive analysis of primary tumor samples that were isolated from different metastatic sides using 3D organoid models. Additionally, we use immortalized FT cell lines and co-culture models to study the dissemination process.

Early development of serous ovarian cancer: Middle: Sketch shows the dissemination from a precursor lesion at the distal part of the fallopian tube and its invasion into the ovary. Upper left: An ex-vivo model showing the attachment and invasion of a human ovarian cancer organoid into a mouse ovary. Lower right: Co-culture of immortalized fallopian tube cells with (red) or without (green) the expression of L1CAM to study early dissemination.