Research ArticleCANCER

Plasma cells shape the mesenchymal identity of ovarian cancers through transfer of exosome-derived microRNAs

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Science Advances  24 Feb 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 9, eabb0737
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb0737


Ovarian cancer represents a highly lethal disease that poses a substantial burden for females, with four main molecular subtypes carrying distinct clinical outcomes. Here, we demonstrated that plasma cells, a subset of antibody-producing B cells, were enriched in the mesenchymal subtype of high-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSCs). Plasma cell abundance correlated with the density of mesenchymal cells in clinical specimens of HGSCs. Coculture of nonmesenchymal ovarian cancer cells and plasma cells induced a mesenchymal phenotype of tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. Phenotypic switch was mediated by the transfer of plasma cell–derived exosomes containing miR-330-3p into nonmesenchymal ovarian cancer cells. Exosome-derived miR-330-3p increased expression of junctional adhesion molecule B in a noncanonical fashion. Depletion of plasma cells by bortezomib reversed the mesenchymal characteristics of ovarian cancer and inhibited in vivo tumor growth. Collectively, our work suggests targeting plasma cells may be a novel approach for ovarian cancer therapy.

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