Recent studies suggest that the fallopian tube epithelium (FTE) harbors the precursor for high-grade ovarian cancer, creating opportunities for targeting the FTE for ovarian cancer prevention. Preclinical evidence supports progestins as ovarian cancer preventives, but the effect of progestins on the FTE is not well characterized. The murine oviduct–specific glycoprotein promotor-driven simian virus 40 large T-Antigen (mogp-TAg) transgenic mouse model develops neoplastic lesions in the fallopian tube in a manner similar to that described in human fallopian tube and ovarian cancers. In this study, we investigated the inhibitory effects of the progestin depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) on fallopian tube carcinogenesis following treatment for 3 and 7 weeks in 5-week-old mogp-TAg mice. Overall, compared with vehicle-treated mice, the fallopian tube of DMPA-treated mice was significantly smaller (P < 0.0005), accumulated fewer p53-positive cells, had normal distribution of ciliated cells, less nuclear pleomorphism and epithelial tufting, and had a significantly lower proliferative index (P = 0.001). Accumulation of p53 signatures and serous tubal intraepithelial carcinomas (STIC) in the fallopian tube was significantly reduced in the DMPA (P < 0.0005) treatment group. Moreover, the fallopian tube of the DMPA-treated mice developed significantly less adenocarcinoma compared with vehicle (P < 0.005) at both treatment time points. DMPA treatment significantly induced cleaved caspase-3 (P < 0.0005) in the FTE compared with vehicle suggesting that apoptosis is involved in DMPA-related clearance of abnormal cells from the fallopian tube. These data demonstrate that DMPA targets early events in fallopian tube carcinogenesis by clearing genetically damaged cells, leading to marked reduction in adenocarcinoma, supporting progestins as chemopreventive agents for fallopian tube and ovarian cancers.
The fallopian tube is thought to harbor the cell of origin for most ovarian cancers. We show in a mouse model of fallopian tube cancer that progestin eradicates the earliest known precancerous lesions and markedly inhibits fallopian tube carcinogenesis, adding to growing preclinical evidence supporting progestins as potent ovarian cancer chemopreventive agents.