Honors Theses and Capstones


Identification of STAT3 as a Gene Involved in Ovarian Cancer Mesothelial Clearance

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences

Program or Major

Biomedical Science: Medical and Veterinary Science Option

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Sarah Walker


There were approximately 14,070 deaths relating to ovarian cancer in the US in 2018. Ninety percent of ovarian cancers are epithelial, which readily create metastatic cells (Torre et al. 2018). The metastatic process by which ovarian cancers create tumors throughout the body is conserved in all ovarian cell types. Cells are released from the primary tumor into the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen where they divide and create three-dimensional spheroid groups that attach to the cavity walls and invade the body. STAT3 has also been shown to affect the ability of ovarian cancers to form spheroids. STAT3 inhibition has been shown to limit ovarian cancer growth and survival as well as motility. However, there has not been a study that looked at the effect of STAT3 inhibition on mesothelial clearance, which is the ability for an ovarian cancer cell to pass through the abdominal lining. The Mesothelial Clearance Assay simulated in vitro by a monolayer of LP9 mesothelial cells stained with a red dye. Ovarian cancer cells were grown in 3D to model in vivo growth. OVCAR8 ovarian cancer cells were used to test reduced STAT3 expression on mesothelial clearance. Utilizing the techniques stated we found, through multiple replicates of this experiment, that STAT3 is involved in mesothelial clearance in ovarian cancer cells. Through both gene analysis and STAT3 DNA binding analysis downstream targets of STAT3 were identified that showed potential involvement with mesothelial clearance.

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