The bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway belonging to the Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGFβ) family of secreted cytokines/growth factors is an important regulator of cancer. BMP ligands have been shown to play both tumor suppressive and promoting roles in human cancers. We have found that BMP ligands are amplified in human ovarian cancers and that BMP receptor expression correlates with poor progression-free-survival (PFS). Furthermore, active BMP signaling has been observed in human ovarian cancer tissue. We also determined that ovarian cancer cell lines have active BMP signaling in a cell autonomous fashion. Inhibition of BMP signaling with a small molecule receptor kinase antagonist is effective at reducing ovarian tumor sphere growth. Furthermore, BMP inhibition can enhance sensitivity to Cisplatin treatment and regulates gene expression involved in platinum resistance in ovarian cancer. Overall, these studies suggest targeting the BMP pathway as a novel source to enhance chemo-sensitivity in ovarian cancer.
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