Poster Presentation 36th Lorne Cancer Conference 2024

Establishing patient-derived organoid cultures as a preclinical model to study and treat ovarian cancer (#113)

Carolina Lliberos 1 2 , Kelvin Yip 2 , Gary Richardson 1 , Antonella Papa 2
  1. Szalmuk Family Department of Medical Oncology, Cabrini Institute, Malvern, VIC 3144
  2. Cancer Program, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800

Ovarian cancer is a common gynaecological malignancy occurring in ~2.5% of all new cancers in women diagnosed in 2022, and has a 5-year survival rate of ~49%[1]. Despite advances in anticancer therapies, 80% of ovarian cancer patients develop resistance to standard treatments which are based on a combination of surgery and systemic therapies. Novel targeted therapies guided by the presence of specific molecular markers have emerged (e.g. PARP inhibitors), however, the severe adverse effects make these treatments short-lived[2]. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving ovarian cancer is therefore urgently needed in order to develop novel detection strategies and to identify more effective treatments.

To improve care and outcomes of ovarian cancer patients, we will use pre-clinical in vitro models based on ovarian cancer organoids derived from tumour biopsies. In the last decade, 3D organoid cell cultures have emerged as an important experimental approach to allow expansion of patient biopsies in vitro and to test their response to new drugs. Ovarian cancer organoids are a mini-replica of the primary tumours, able to mimic histological and genomic features of the original tissues, and are amenable to molecular assays thus informing mechanisms causing tumour heterogeneity and resistance to therapies[3]. We are establishing a collection of ovarian cancer organoids from primary ovarian tumours with the goal to identify new treatments for patients with unmet clinical needs. Findings from ovarian cancer organoid studies will be discussed with clinicians to assist in their treatment decisions towards novel and more personalised therapies for improved curative rates.

  1. [1]Ovarian cancer statistics in Australia (
  2. [2]Lukanović, D.; Kobal, B.; Černe, K. Ovarian Cancer: Treatment and Resistance to Pharmacotherapy. Reprod. Med. 2022, 3, 127-140. doi: 10.3390/reprodmed3020011.
  3. [3]Yang J., Huang S., Cheng S., Jin Y., Zhang N., Wang Y. Application of Ovarian Cancer Organoids in Precision Medicine: Key Challenges and Current Opportunities. Front. Cell Dev. Biol. 2021, 9:701429. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.701429.