Depression, social support, and beta-adrenergic transcription control in human ovarian cancer

Susan K. Lutgendorf, Koen DeGeest, Caroline Y. Sung, Jesusa M. Arevalo, Frank Penedo, Joseph Lucci, Michael Goodheart, David Lubaroff, Donna M. Farley, Anil K. Sood, Steve W. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Motivated by previous indications that beta-adrenergic signaling can regulate tumor cell gene expression in model systems, we sought to determine whether similar dynamics occur in primary human ovarian cancer. DNA microarray analyses of 10 ovarian carcinomas identified 266 human transcripts that were differentially expressed in tumors from patients with elevated biobehavioral risk factors (high depressive symptoms and low social support) relative to grade- and stage-matched tumors from low-risk patients. Promoter-based bioinformatic analyses indicated increased activity of several beta-adrenergically-linked transcription control pathways, including CREB/ATF, NF-κB/Rel, STAT, and Ets family transcription factors. Consistent with increased beta-adrenergic signaling, high biobehavioral risk patients also showed increased intra-tumor concentrations of norepinephrine (but no difference in plasma norepinephrine). These data show that genome-wide transcriptional profiles are significantly altered in tumors from patients with high behavioral risk profiles, and they identify beta-adrenergic signal transduction as a likely mediator of those effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Beta-adrenergic receptor
  • Gene expression
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Sympathetic nervous system
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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