The Ovarian Cancer Translational Research Group

John Martignetti, MD, PhD is intent on finding markers for early detection and prevention of ovarian cancer by identifying molecules that tumors secrete which could be detected by a blood test to possibly signal the earliest stages of tumor formation or response to different treatments. He is also investigating potential therapeutic targets and genetic markers associated with disease recurrence and risk that are present even before a tumor develops. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the genetic information which can change how we deal with ovarian cancers.

More than 100 women have enrolled in the ongoing study which also includes collection of a blood samples, ascites fluid, and cell lines established from their tumors in an international collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York; MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada; and the Mario Negri Research Institute in Milan, Italy.

The data we have been collecting is incredibly rich and is providing us with an unprecedented view into the identity of these tumor cells. One example is a research finding that Mount Sinai investigators made when working on the KLF6 gene, a tumor suppressor gene that stops cancer from developing. A variation in this gene drives cells to grow and metastasize. Our research team showed that treatment with certain chemical compounds attacked this genetic variation, and the survival rate tripled. This work was recently published in the prestigious journal Cancer Research and as a chapter in the book The Biology of the Kruppel-like Factors (Springer).

So little is known about ovarian cancer, but our cutting-edge investigations, dedicated scientists and clinicians, and patients who are willing to serve on the leading edge of the research frontiers are what keep Mount Sinai at the forefront of the ever-changing and challenging research revolution.

If you would like more information about the Ovarian Cancer Translational Research Group at Mount Sinai, please contact John Martignetti, MD at 212-659-6744 or