Pradeep Lab

Peritoneal seeding is the most common pathway for the spread of ovarian cancer. Because 90% of ovarian cancers are surface epithelial carcinomas, the tumor cells are able to slough off the ovary and enter the peritoneal circulation, thereby seeding multiple sites in the abdominal cavity. Despite the widely-held view that epithelial ovarian cancer metastasizes via peritoneal seeding, the distribution of ovarian metastasis was peculiar in that the ovarian cancer cells gravitated toward the omentum, an apron tissue over the abdomen as the preferred site of metastasis. The omentum is composed of fatty tissue interspersed with immune cell aggregates or “milky spots”, consisting of macrophages, leukocytes, stem and progenitor cells, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells. It is known that disseminated tumor cells adhere to milky spots within hours, and milky spots are sources of cytokines and chemokines sites that facilitate local proliferation of tumor cells, and maturation of macrophages. Given the highly metastatic nature of ovarian cancer, we have an interest in understanding the mechanisms of how immune cells facilitate omental metastasis of ovarian cancer cells.

Our previous work at MD Anderson has demonstrated increased expression of neuregulin 1 (NRG1), the binding partner of ErbB3 (Erb-B2 Receptor Tyrosine Kinase 3), promotes homing of ovarian cancer cells to the omentum (Pradeep et al., Cancer Cell, 2014). In my lab at MCW, we will investigate how adipocytes reprogram the immune cells in omentum to enhance ovarian cancer cell progression and metastasis. We believe that these new mechanisms will offer new options for therapy targeting ovarian cancer metastasis.

Ray of Hope

Ray of Hope is a non-profit organization established in 2018 in the Greater Milwaukee Area in response to the need for more advocacy for ovarian cancer awareness and research. Ray of hope provides philanthropic support to ovarian cancer researchers like us to generate preliminary data to apply for high-risk and high-reward federal grants. Ray of hope believes in the bravery of all women who have fought or are fighting against ovarian cancer. Ray of hope is working for women around the globe to be brave and resilient in the fight against ovarian cancer – – and their bravery should not go unnoticed.

It is always encouraging to work with organizations such as Ray of Hope, who are working hard to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. Our laboratory is partnering in the mission of Ray of Hope by identifying novel targets and treatment strategies to cure ovarian cancer.

Sunila Pradeep HUB-featured
Pradeep, Sunila, PhD

Associate Professor
Research & Advanced Education

Principal Investigator Sponsor Project Title Award Date
Pradeep, Sunila, PhD F&MCW Cancer Center Harnessing PD-L1 Expression in Ovarian Cancer ACS-Supplement 8/1/2022 7/31/2024
Pradeep, Sunila, PhD Department of Defense (DoD) Translational Adaptations in Macrophage for Ovarian Cancer Progression 7/01/2022 6/30/2024
Pradeep, Sunila, PhD NIH Cancer Institute (R01) Role of exosomal SPHK1 in ovarian cancer progression 2/1/2022 1/31/2027
Pradeep, Sunila, PhD Department of Defense (DoD) Targeting Epigenomic Adaptations to Overcome Drug Resistance in Ovarian Cancer 6/1/2021 5/31/2025