Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy in women. Metformin intake is associated with a reduced incidence of ovarian cancer and increased overall survival rate. We determined the effect of metformin on sphere formation, extracellular matrix invasion, and transcriptome profile of ovarian cancer cells (COVCAR) isolated from ascites of chickens that naturally developed ovarian cancer. We found that metformin treatment significantly decreased sphere formation and invasiveness of COVCAR cells. RNA-Seq data analysis revealed 0, 4, 365 differentially expressed genes in cells treated with 0.5, 1, 2 mM metformin, respectively compared to controls. Transcriptomic and ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) revealed significant downregulation of MMP7, AICDA, GDPD2, APOC3, APOA1 and predicted inhibition of upstream regulators NFKB, STAT3, TP53 that are involved in epithelial–mesenchymal transition, DNA repair, and lipid metabolism. The analysis revealed significant upregulation of RASD2, IHH, CRABP-1 and predicted activation of upstream regulators VEGF and E2F1 that are associated with angiogenesis and cell cycle. Causal network analysis revealed novel pathways suggesting predicted inhibition of ovarian cancer through master regulator ASCL1 and dataset genes DCX, SEMA6B, HEY2, and KCNIP2. In summary, advanced pathway analysis in IPA revealed novel target genes, upstream regulators, and pathways affected by metformin treatment of COVCAR cells.
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