2003 Ann Schreiber Grant Recipient – Kuan-Chun Huang

Kuan-Chun Huang, Ph.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
A Possible New Marker for Drug Resistance of Ovarian Cancer

Project Summary

For most ovarian cancer patients, a combination of surgery and postoperative chemotherapy is the standard of care. Chemotherapy consists of six cycles of Taxol and Carboplatin. In spite of a high response rate, many patients still develop and succumb to recurrent disease. Through a global genomic profiling study, Dr. Huang has identified that XIST (inactive X chromosome specific transcripts) gene expression level significantly correlates with Taxol sensitivity and disease-free periods of patients. From several lines of research, Dr. Huang hypothesizes that the RNA molecule that codes for XIST and the protein BRCA1, a breast and ovarian cancer tumor suppressor protein, interact and change the structure of the X chromosome to affect drug sensitivity of tumor cells. If so, the XIST RNA may be a prognostic marker of ovarian cancer, which Dr. Huang will study. She will also investigate in detail the interaction of the XIST RNA and BRCA1. Her findings should lead to a better understanding of drug response in ovarian cancer.