A living biobank of ovarian cancer ex vivo models reveals profound mitotic heterogeneity

Louisa Nelson, Anthony Tighe, Anya Golder, Samantha Littler, Bjorn Bakker, Daniela Moralli, Syed Murtuza Baker, Ian Donaldson, Diana C J Spierings, Rene Wardenaar, Bethanie Neale, George Burghel, Brett Winter-Roach, Richard Edmondson, Andrew Clamp, Gordon Jayson, Sudha Desai, Catherine M Green , Andrew Hayes, Floris FoijerRobert Morgan, Stephen Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma is characterised by TP53 mutation and extensive chromosome instability (CIN). Because our understanding of CIN mechanisms is based largely on analysing established cell lines, we developed a workflow for generating ex vivo cultures from patient biopsies to provide models that support interrogation of CIN mechanisms in cells not extensively cultured in vitro. Here, we describe a “living biobank” of ovarian cancer models with extensive replicative capcity, derived from both ascites and solid biopsies. Fifteen models are characterised by p53 profiling, exome sequencing and transcriptomics, and karyotyped using single-cell whole-genome sequencing. Time-lapse microscopy reveals catastrophic and highly heterogeneous mitoses, suggesting that analysis of established cell lines probably underestimates mitotic dysfunction in advanced human cancers. Drug profiling reveals cisplatin sensitivities consistent with patient responses, demonstrating that this workflow has potential to generate personalized avatars with advantages over current pre-clinical models and the potential to guide clinical decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number822
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020


  • Biological Specimen Banks
  • Chromosomal Instability
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Histological Techniques/methods
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Karyotyping
  • Mitosis/genetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Paclitaxel/pharmacology
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Time-Lapse Imaging
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/genetics
  • Whole Exome Sequencing

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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