STING pathway expression in low-grade serous carcinoma of the ovary: an unexpected therapeutic opportunity?

Jutta Huvila, Dawn R. Cochrane, Monica Ta, Christine Chow, Kendall Greening, Samuel Leung, Anthony N. Karnezis, Analisa DiFeo, David G. Huntsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ovarian carcinoma histotypes are distinct diseases with variable clinical outcomes and response to treatment. There is a need for new subtype-specific treatment modalities, especially for women with widespread and chemo-resistant disease. Stimulator of interferon genes (STING) is a part of the cGAS–STING pathway that mediates innate immune defence against infectious DNA-containing pathogens and also detects tumour-derived DNA and generates intrinsic antitumour immunity. The STING signalling pathway is suppressed by several mechanisms in a variety of malignant diseases and, in some cancers that may be a requirement for cellular transformation. The aim of this study was to use immunohistochemistry to evaluate STING protein expression across normal tissue, paratubal and ovarian cysts, and ovarian tumour histotypes including ovarian carcinomas. Herein, we show that the fallopian tube ciliated cells express STING protein, whereas the secretory cells are negative. STING expression differs among ovarian cancer histotypes; low-grade serous ovarian carcinomas and serous borderline tumours have uniform high STING expression, while high-grade serous and endometrioid carcinomas have heterogeneous expression, and clear cell and mucinous carcinomas show low expression. As low-grade serous carcinomas are known to be genomically stable and typically lack a prominent host immune response, the consistently high STING expression is unexpected. High STING expression may reflect pathway activation or histogenesis and the mechanisms may be different in different ovarian carcinoma histotypes. Further studies are needed to determine whether the STING signalling pathway is active and whether these tumours would be candidates for therapeutic interventions that trigger innate immunity activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Pathology: Clinical Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • innate immunity
  • low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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