Gene Summary

Gene:AXIN2; axin 2
Summary:The Axin-related protein, Axin2, presumably plays an important role in the regulation of the stability of beta-catenin in the Wnt signaling pathway, like its rodent homologs, mouse conductin/rat axil. In mouse, conductin organizes a multiprotein complex of APC (adenomatous polyposis of the colon), beta-catenin, glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta, and conductin, which leads to the degradation of beta-catenin. Apparently, the deregulation of beta-catenin is an important event in the genesis of a number of malignancies. The AXIN2 gene has been mapped to 17q23-q24, a region that shows frequent loss of heterozygosity in breast cancer, neuroblastoma, and other tumors. Mutations in this gene have been associated with colorectal cancer with defective mismatch repair. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 17 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 17 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Saliva
  • DNA Sequence Analysis
  • Messenger RNA
  • Signal Transduction
  • beta Catenin
  • Transcription Factors
  • Turkey
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Mutation
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Liver Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Protein Binding
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Repressor Proteins
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • APC
  • Axin Protein
  • Chromosome 17
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Smoking
  • Trans-Activators
  • Cell Nucleus
  • TCF Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Promoter Regions
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • DNA Methylation
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Adolescents
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
Tag cloud generated 17 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AXIN2 (cancer-related)

Taskesen E, Staal FJ, Reinders MJ
An integrated approach of gene expression and DNA-methylation profiles of WNT signaling genes uncovers novel prognostic markers in acute myeloid leukemia.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2015; 16 Suppl 4:S4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The wingless-Int (WNT) pathway has an essential role in cell regulation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). For Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), the malignant counterpart of HSC, currently only a selective number of genes of the WNT pathway are analyzed by using either gene expression or DNA-methylation profiles for the identification of prognostic markers and potential candidate targets for drug therapy. It is known that mRNA expression is controlled by DNA-methylation and that specific patterns can infer the ability to differentiate biological differences, thus a combined analysis using all WNT annotated genes could provide more insight in the WNT signaling.
APPROACH: We created a computational approach that integrates gene expression and DNA promoter methylation profiles. The approach represents the continuous gene expression and promoter methylation profiles with nine discrete mutually exclusive scenarios. The scenario representation allows for a refinement of patient groups by a more powerful statistical analysis, and the construction of a co-expression network. We focused on 268 WNT annotated signaling genes that are derived from the molecular signature database.
RESULTS: Using the scenarios we identified seven prognostic markers for overall survival and event-free survival. Three genes are novel prognostic markers; two with favorable outcome (PSMD2, PPARD) and one with unfavorable outcome (XPNPEP). The remaining four genes (LEF1, SFRP2, RUNX1, and AXIN2) were previously identified but we could refine the patient groups. Three AML risk groups were further analyzed and the co-expression network showed that only the good risk group harbors frequent promoter hypermethylation and significantly correlated interactions with proteasome family members.
CONCLUSION: Our results provide novel insights in WNT signaling in AML, we discovered new and previously identified prognostic markers and a refinement of the patient groups.

Ye Q, Yao G, Zhang M, et al.
A novel ent-kaurane diterpenoid executes antitumor function in colorectal cancer cells by inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(3):318-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant activation of Wnt signaling pathway is crucial for the onset and progression of human colorectal cancer (CRC). Owing to the persistent dependence on Wnt signaling for growth and survival, inhibition of this pathway is an attractive approach for new therapies. 11α, 12α-epoxyleukamenin E (EPLE) is a novel ent-kaurane diterpenoid that we previously isolated from Salvia cavaleriei, exhibiting antitumor activities in a variety of cancer cells. Herein, we found that whereas sparing normal human colon mucosal epithelial cells, EPLE selectively inhibited the proliferation of CRC cell lines as well as primary tumor cells. Mechanistically, we demonstrated EPLE exerted its function through suppressing Wnt signaling pathway, as evidenced by EPLE-mediated downregulation of Wnt target genes such as c-Myc, Axin2 and Survivin. Consistently, luciferase reporter assays showed that the EPLE directly blocked Wnt/β-catenin-mediated transcriptional activation. In combination of co-immunoprecipitation and protein structure-based analyses, we determined that the EPLE entered the interface of β-catenin/TCF4 complexes and blocked their interaction that is required for β-catenin-mediated transcriptional activation. Moreover, overexpression of β-catenin alleviated the cytotoxicity of EPLE in CRC cells, supporting Wnt signaling is a major and specific target of EPLE. Combined treatments of EPLE and 5-fluorouracil, the first-line chemotherapy for CRC patients, achieved a synergistic effect. More importantly, EPLE hampered tumor development in a CRC xenograft model. Our data thus establish EPLE as a novel inhibitor of Wnt signaling that holds great promise as a potential candidate for further preclinical evaluation for CRC treatments.

Xu W, Wang Z, Zhang W, et al.
Mutated K-ras activates CDK8 to stimulate the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in pancreatic cancer in part via the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 356(2 Pt B):613-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8), a gene encoding the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) component of the Mediator complex, is known as a colon cancer oncogene. Our recent study showed that CDK8 plays an important role in the formation of pancreatic cancer, but the CDK8 expression levels were not completely identical in different pancreatic cancer samples. The level of CDK8 expression depended on whether the K-ras gene was mutated; its expression was much higher in samples carrying a K-ras mutation than in wild-type K-ras samples. Moreover, CDK8 expression was reduced following mutated K-ras knockdown in K-ras-mutated pancreatic cancer cells, whereas CDK8 expression was increased following expression of mutated K-ras in wild-type K-ras cells. Our study demonstrates that mutated K-ras stimulates CDK8 expression, possibly by regulating HIF-1α, and both CDK8 and mutated K-ras were confirmed to promote cell proliferation and prevent apoptosis in vitro. Additionally, we found that both CDK8 and mutated K-ras promote the invasion and migration of pancreatic cancer cells via the positive regulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, thereby increasing the expression of Snail1 and ZEB1, which act as important stimulating factors of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Finally, knockdown of either CDK8 or mutated K-ras contributed to attenuated pancreatic cancer growth in BALB/c nude mice. In conclusion, these findings demonstrate that mutated K-ras promotes CDK8 expression and that the regulatory effects of CDK8 on the EMT are partially attributed to the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

Mazzoni SM, Fearon ER
AXIN1 and AXIN2 variants in gastrointestinal cancers.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 355(1):1-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutations in the APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) gene, which encodes a multi-functional protein with a well-defined role in the canonical Wnt pathway, underlie familial adenomatous polypsosis, a rare, inherited form of colorectal cancer (CRC) and contribute to the majority of sporadic CRCs. However, not all sporadic and familial CRCs can be explained by mutations in APC or other genes with well-established roles in CRC. The AXIN1 and AXIN2 proteins function in the canonical Wnt pathway, and AXIN1/2 alterations have been proposed as key defects in some cancers. Here, we review AXIN1 and AXIN2 sequence alterations reported in gastrointestinal cancers, with the goal of vetting the evidence that some of the variants may have key functional roles in cancer development.

Amer M, Elhefnawi M, El-Ahwany E, et al.
Hsa-miR-195 targets PCMT1 in hepatocellular carcinoma that increases tumor life span.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(11):11301-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs are small 19-25 nucleotides which have been shown to play important roles in the regulation of gene expression in many organisms. Downregulation or accumulation of miRNAs implies either tumor suppression or oncogenic activation. In this study, differentially expressed hsa-miR-195 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was identified and analyzed. The prediction was done using a consensus approach of tools. The validation steps were done at two different levels in silico and in vitro. FGF7, GHR, PCMT1, CITED2, PEX5, PEX13, NOVA1, AXIN2, and TSPYL2 were detected with high significant (P < 0.005). These genes are involved in important pathways in cancer like MAPK signaling pathway, Jak-STAT signaling pathways, regulation of actin cytoskeleton, angiogenesis, Wnt signaling pathway, and TGF-beta signaling pathway. In vitro target validation was done for protein-L-isoaspartate (D-aspartate) O-methyltransferase (PCMT1). The co-transfection of pmirGLO-PCMT1 and pEGP-miR-195 showed highly significant results. Firefly luciferase was detected using Lumiscensor and t test analysis was done. Firefly luciferase expression was significantly decreased (P < 0.001) in comparison to the control. The low expression of firefly luciferase validates the method of target prediction that we used in this work by working on PCMT1 as a target for miR-195. Furthermore, the rest of the predicted genes are suspected to be real targets for hsa-miR-195. These target genes control almost all the hallmarks of liver cancer which can be used as therapeutic targets in cancer treatment.

Liu D, Li L, Yang Y, et al.
The Axin2 rs2240308 polymorphism and susceptibility to lung cancer in a Chinese population.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(11):10987-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
Axis inhibition protein 2 (Axin2) is a negative regulator of the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and functions as a tumor suppressor in a number of human cancers. Previous pilot studies have suggested an association between Axin2 exon1 148 (rs2240308) SNP polymorphism and risk for lung cancer. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the Axin2 exon1 148 polymorphism and its association with lung cancer susceptibility in Han Chinese population. The Axin2 exon1 148 SNP was genotyped in 555 controls and 520 lung cancer patients using TaqMan SNP Genotyping Assays. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We observed that the genotype frequencies of TC, TT, and CC were significantly different between controls and cases (χ(2) = 6.849, P = 0.03256, df = 2). Subjects carrying T allele (TC + TT genotypes) had decreased susceptibility to lung cancer as compared to those carrying CC genotype (OR = 0.733, 95% CI = 0.5726-0.9393, P = 0.01382). No significant association was found between rs2240308 polymorphism and histological subtypes of lung cancers. Findings from this study suggest that Axin2 exon1 T148C polymorphism (rs2240308) contributes to increased susceptibility to lung cancer in Chinese population. This further implicates Axin2 as a lung cancer-related gene.

Muto Y, Maeda T, Suzuki K, et al.
DNA methylation alterations of AXIN2 in serrated adenomas and colon carcinomas with microsatellite instability.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:466 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recent work led to recognize sessile serrated adenomas (SSA) as precursor to many of the sporadic colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability (MSI). However, comprehensive analyses of DNA methylation in SSA and MSI cancer have not been conducted.
METHODS: With an array-based methylation sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism (MS-AFLP) method we analyzed 8 tubular (TA) and 19 serrated (SSA) adenomas, and 14 carcinomas with (MSI) and 12 without (MSS) microsatellite instability. MS-AFLP array can survey relative differences in methylation between normal and tumor tissues of 9,654 DNA fragments containing all NotI sequences in the human genome.
RESULTS: Unsupervised clustering analysis of the genome-wide hypermethylation alterations revealed no major differences between or within these groups of benign and malignant tumors regardless of their location in intergenic, intragenic, promoter, or 3' end regions. Hypomethylation was less frequent in SSAs compared with MSI or MSS carcinomas. Analysis of variance of DNA methylation between these four subgroups identified 56 probes differentially altered. The hierarchical tree of this subset of probes revealed two distinct clusters: Group 1, mostly composed by TAs and MSS cancers with KRAS mutations; and Group 2 with BRAF mutations, which consisted of cancers with MSI and MLH1 methylation (Group 2A), and SSAs without MLH1 methylation (Group 2B). AXIN2, which cooperates with APC and β-catenin in Wnt signaling, had more methylation alterations in Group 2, and its expression levels negatively correlated with methylation determined by bisulfite sequencing. Within group 2B, low and high AXIN2 expression levels correlated significantly with differences in size (P = 0.01) location (P = 0.05) and crypt architecture (P = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Somatic methylation alterations of AXIN2, associated with changes in its expression, stratify SSAs according to some clinico-pathological differences. We conclude that hypermethylation of MLH1, when occurs in an adenoma cell with BRAF oncogenic mutational activation, drives the pathway for MSI cancer by providing the cells with a mutator phenotype. AXIN2 inactivation may contribute to this tumorigenic pathway either by mutator phenotype driven frameshift mutations or by epigenetic deregulation contemporary with the unfolding of the mutator phenotype.

Schneikert J, Ruppert JG, Behrens J, Wenzel EM
different Roles for the axin interactions with the SAMP versus the second twenty amino acid repeat of adenomatous polyposis coli.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e94413 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Wnt signalling is prevented by the proteosomal degradation of β-catenin, which occurs in a destruction complex containing adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), APC-like (APCL), Axin and Axin2. Truncating mutations of the APC gene result in the constitutive stabilisation of β-catenin and the initiation of colon cancer, although tumour cells tolerate the expression of wild-type APCL. Using the colocalisation of overexpressed Axin, APC and APCL constructs as a readout of interaction, we found that Axin interacted with the second twenty amino acid repeat (20R2) of APC and APCL. This interaction involved a domain adjacent to the C-terminal DIX domain of Axin. We identified serine residues within the 20R2 of APCL that were involved in Axin colocalisation, the phosphorylation of truncated APCL and the down-regulation of β-catenin. Our results indicated that Axin, but not Axin2, displaced APC, but not APCL, from the cytoskeleton and stimulated its incorporation into bright cytoplasmic dots that others have recognised as β-catenin destruction complexes. The SAMP repeats in APC interact with the N-terminal RGS domain of Axin. Our data showed that a short domain containing the first SAMP repeat in truncated APC was required to stimulate Axin oligomerisation. This was independent of Axin colocalisation with 20R2. Our data also suggested that the RGS domain exerted an internal inhibitory constraint on Axin oligomerisation. Considering our data and those from others, we discuss a working model whereby β-catenin phosphorylation involves Axin and the 20R2 of APC or APCL and further processing of phospho-β-catenin occurs upon the oligomerisation of Axin that is induced by binding the SAMP repeats in APC.

Bonds J, Pollan-White S, Xiang L, et al.
Is there a link between ovarian cancer and tooth agenesis?
Eur J Med Genet. 2014; 57(5):235-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
An epidemiologic study from the year 2008 found a highly significant increase of congenital tooth agenesis in women with ovarian cancer suggesting that a common genetic etiology may predispose women to both conditions. The finding was reminiscent of a previously described family harboring an AXIN2 mutation which could be shown to segregate with both the tooth agenesis and the predisposition to colon cancer transmitted in this family. Since tooth agenesis as a marker for susceptibility to ovarian cancer would be of great relevance to both oncologists and women with inborn missing teeth, the relationship between the two disorders requires a thorough assessment. We examined DNA samples from the ovarian cancer patients who participated in the original study, to look for a possible genetic connection between their ovarian malignancies and tooth agenesis. MSX1, PAX9, AXIN2, EDA, WNT10A, BARX and BRCA1 genes were selected for sequence analysis as they may cause tooth agenesis, are expressed in the female reproductive system, and/or are involved in tumorigenesis in general or specifically in the ovary. Our study revealed evidence that one half of the dually affected patients had an independent causation of the two conditions, thus reducing the previously estimated ovarian cancer risk for women with congenital tooth agenesis quite significantly.

Jin B, Ding K, Pan J
Ponatinib induces apoptosis in imatinib-resistant human mast cells by dephosphorylating mutant D816V KIT and silencing β-catenin signaling.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(5):1217-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gain-of-function mutations of membrane receptor tyrosine kinase KIT, especially gatekeeper D816V point mutation in KIT, render kinase autoactivation, disease progression, and poor prognosis. D816V KIT is found in approximately 80% of the patients with systemic mastocytosis, and is resistant to the first and second generations of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). The purpose of this investigation was aimed at exploring whether ponatinib (AP24534), a novel effective TKI against T315I Bcr-Abl, was active against D816V KIT. We discovered that ponatinib abrogated the phosphorylation of KIT harboring either V560G (sensitive to imatinib) or D816V mutation (resistant to imatinib) and the downstream signaling transduction. Ponatinib inhibited the growth of D816V KIT-expressing cells in culture and nude mouse xenografted tumor. Ponatinib triggered apoptosis by inducing the release of cytochrome c and AIF, downregulation of Mcl-1. Furthermore, ponatinib abrogated the phosphorylation of β-catenin at the site Y654, suppressed the translocation of β-catenin, and inhibited the transcription and DNA binding of TCF and the expression of its targets (e.g., AXIN2, c-MYC, and CCND1). Moreover, ponatinib was highly active against xenografted D816V KIT tumors in nude mice and significantly prolonged the survival of mice with aggressive systemic mastocytosis or mast cell leukemia by impeding the expansion and infiltration of mast cells with imatinib-resistant D814Y KIT. Our findings warrant a clinical trial of ponatinib in patients with systemic mastocytosis harboring D816V KIT.

Coskun M, Olsen AK, Bzorek M, et al.
Involvement of CDX2 in the cross talk between TNF-α and Wnt signaling pathway in the colon cancer cell line Caco-2.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(5):1185-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is highly upregulated in inflammation and reduces the expression of the intestinal transcription factor, Caudal-related homeobox transcription factor 2 (CDX2). Wnt/β-catenin signaling is critical for intestinal cell proliferation, but a decreased CDX2 expression has influence on the Wnt signaling-related genes and progression of colorectal cancer. Although several inflammatory signaling pathways, including TNF-α, have been reported to promote Wnt/β-catenin activity and development of cancer, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. The aim was to investigate the signaling pathways involved in the TNF-α-mediated downregulation of CDX2, and its influence on Wnt/β-catenin signaling components in colon cancer cells. The expression of TNF-α and CDX2 at the invasive front were evaluated by immunohistochemical staining and showed reduced CDX2-positive cells in tumor buddings in areas with TNF-α expression in the surrounding inflammatory cells. In vitro studies revealed that TNF-α treatment showed a dose-dependent decrease of CDX2 messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression in Caco-2 cells. Inhibition of nuclear factor-kappaB or p38 pathways showed that these are involved in the TNF-α-dependent downregulation of CDX2. Furthermore, TNF-α-mediated downregulation of CDX2 was found to significantly decrease the mRNA levels of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), axis inhibition protein 2 (AXIN2) and glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK3β), whereas the mRNA levels of Wnt targets were significantly elevated in TNF-α-treated Caco-2 cells. These findings were associated with reduced binding of CDX2 to promoter or enhancer regions of APC, AXIN2 and GSK3β. In conclusion, it was found that TNF-α induces the expression of Wnt signaling components through a downregulation of the CDX2 expression that might have a tumor-promoting effect on colon cancer cells.

Szkandera J, Pichler M, Absenger G, et al.
A functional germline variant in GLI1 implicates hedgehog signaling in clinical outcome of stage II and III colon carcinoma patients.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(6):1687-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Cumulating evidence indicates that germline variants in the Wnt, Notch, and Hedgehog pathways are involved in colon carcinoma progression and metastasis. We investigated germline polymorphisms in a comprehensive panel of Wnt, Notch, and Hedgehog pathway genes to predict time to recurrence (TTR) and overall survival in patients with stage II and III colon carcinoma.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A total of 742 consecutively collected patients with stage II and III colon carcinoma were included in this retrospective study. Genomic DNA was analyzed for 18 germline polymorphisms in Wnt, Notch, and Hedgehog pathway genes (SFRP, DKK 2 and 3, AXIN2, APC, MYC, TCF7L2, NOTCH2, and GLI1) by TaqMan 5'-exonuclease assays.
RESULTS: In univariate analysis, the homozygous mutant variant of GLI1 rs2228226 G>C was significantly associated with decreased TTR in a recessive genetic model after adjustment for multiple testing [HR = 2.35; confidence interval (95% CI), 1.48-3.74; P < 0.001] and remained significant in multivariate analysis including clinical stage, lymphovascular-, vascular-, and perineural-invasion (HR = 2.43; CI 95%, 1.52-3.87; P < 0.001). In subanalyses, the association was limited to patients with surgery alone (HR = 3.21; CI 95%, 1.59-6.49; P = 0.001), in contrast with patients with adjuvant chemotherapy (HR = 0.82; CI 95%, 0.35-1.95; P = 0.657). When the subgroup of patients with "high-risk" GLI1 rs2228226 C/C genotype was analyzed, no benefit of adjuvant 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy could be found.
CONCLUSION: This is the first study identifying GLI1 rs2228226 G>C as an independent prognostic marker in patients with stage II and III colon carcinoma. Prospective studies are warranted to validate our findings.

Herbst A, Jurinovic V, Krebs S, et al.
Comprehensive analysis of β-catenin target genes in colorectal carcinoma cell lines with deregulated Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
BMC Genomics. 2014; 15:74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Deregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is a hallmark of the majority of sporadic forms of colorectal cancer and results in increased stability of the protein β-catenin. β-catenin is then shuttled into the nucleus where it activates the transcription of its target genes, including the proto-oncogenes MYC and CCND1 as well as the genes encoding the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins ASCL2 and ITF-2B. To identify genes commonly regulated by β-catenin in colorectal cancer cell lines, we analyzed β-catenin target gene expression in two non-isogenic cell lines, DLD1 and SW480, using DNA microarrays and compared these genes to β-catenin target genes published in the PubMed database and DNA microarray data presented in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database.
RESULTS: Treatment of DLD1 and SW480 cells with β-catenin siRNA resulted in differential expression of 1501 and 2389 genes, respectively. 335 of these genes were regulated in the same direction in both cell lines. Comparison of these data with published β-catenin target genes for the colon carcinoma cell line LS174T revealed 193 genes that are regulated similarly in all three cell lines. The overlapping gene set includes confirmed β-catenin target genes like AXIN2, MYC, and ASCL2. We also identified 11 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways that are regulated similarly in DLD1 and SW480 cells and one pathway - the steroid biosynthesis pathway - was regulated in all three cell lines.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on the large number of potential β-catenin target genes found to be similarly regulated in DLD1, SW480 and LS174T cells as well as the large overlap with confirmed β-catenin target genes, we conclude that DLD1 and SW480 colon carcinoma cell lines are suitable model systems to study Wnt/β-catenin signaling and associated colorectal carcinogenesis. Furthermore, the confirmed and the newly identified potential β-catenin target genes are useful starting points for further studies.

Saito T, Mitomi H, Imamhasan A, et al.
Downregulation of sFRP-2 by epigenetic silencing activates the β-catenin/Wnt signaling pathway in esophageal basaloid squamous cell carcinoma.
Virchows Arch. 2014; 464(2):135-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma (BSCC) of the esophagus is a rare variant of typical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) associated with poor survival. A characteristic feature is nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, without a mutation of the gene. We studied the methylation status of Wnt antagonist genes, such as secreted frizzled-related protein (sFRP) gene family members, Wnt inhibitory factor-1 (WIF-1), Dickkopf-1 (Dkk-1), and human Dapper protein-1 (HDPR-1), and alterations of the APC, Axin1, and Axin2 genes in 30 cases of esophageal BSCC. β-catenin and sFRP (sFRP-1, sFRP-2, sFRP-4, sFRP-5) protein expression was examined by immunohistochemistry. APC, Axin1, and Axin2 gene mutations were detected in 3, 2, and 2 cases, respectively, and 6 cases (20 %) harbored at least 1 alteration in these genes. Methylation of the sFRP-2 promoter region was observed in all cases, and methylation was frequent in sFRP-1 and sFRP-5, but infrequent in Dkk-1, WIF-1, sFRP-4, and HDPR-1. sFRP-2 expression was almost completely absent in 25 cases (83 %), consistent with the methylation status. Nuclear accumulation of β-catenin was observed in all cases. sFRP-5 expression was associated with a low nuclear β-catenin labeling index. These results show that sFRP-2 is a target gene of hypermethylation in esophageal BSCC and suggest that sFRP-2 might contribute to BSCC tumorigenesis through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

Ju X, Ishikawa TO, Naka K, et al.
Context-dependent activation of Wnt signaling by tumor suppressor RUNX3 in gastric cancer cells.
Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(4):418-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
RUNX3 is a tumor suppressor for a variety of cancers. RUNX3 suppresses the canonical Wnt signaling pathway by binding to the TCF4/β-catenin complex, resulting in the inhibition of binding of the complex to the Wnt target gene promoter. Here, we confirmed that RUNX3 suppressed Wnt signaling activity in several gastric cancer cell lines; however, we found that RUNX3 increased the Wnt signaling activity in KatoIII and SNU668 gastric cancer cells. Notably, RUNX3 expression increased the ratio of the Wnt signaling-high population in the KatoIII cells. although the maximum Wnt activation level of individual cells was similar to that in the control. As found previously, RUNX3 also binds to TCF4 and β-catenin in KatoIII cells, suggesting that these molecules form a ternary complex. Moreover, the ChIP analyses revealed that TCF4, β-catenin and RUNX3 bind the promoter region of the Wnt target genes, Axin2 and c-Myc, and the occupancy of TCF4 and β-catenin in these promoter regions is increased by the RUNX3 expression. These results suggest that RUNX3 stabilizes the TCF4/β-catenin complex on the Wnt target gene promoter in KatoIII cells, leading to activation of Wnt signaling. Although RUNX3 increased the Wnt signaling activity, its expression resulted in suppression of tumorigenesis of KatoIII cells, indicating that RUNX3 plays a tumor-suppressing role in KatoIII cells through a Wnt-independent mechanism. These results indicate that RUNX3 can either suppress or activate the Wnt signaling pathway through its binding to the TCF4/β-catenin complex by cell context-dependent mechanisms.

Huang W, Jin Y, Yuan Y, et al.
Validation and target gene screening of hsa-miR-205 in lung squamous cell carcinoma.
Chin Med J (Engl). 2014; 127(2):272-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lung cancers are classified as squamous cell carcinoma (SQ), adenocarcinoma (AC) and small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). SQ is the major subtype of lung cancer. Currently, there are no targeted therapies for SQ due to lack of understanding its driving oncogenes. In this study, we validated an SQ specific biomarker hsa-miR-205 in Chinese patients with lung cancer and screened its candidate target genes for further functional studies to enrich knowledge in SQ target therapies.
METHODS: Quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (quantitative RT-PCR) was performed on 197 macro-dissected (cancerous cells >75%) surgical lung tissues (45 SQ, 44 AC, 54 SCLC and 54 adjacent normal tissues) to validate the expression profiles of miR-205. Furthermore, the targets of this microRNA were predicted through the gateway miRecords and mapped to lung cancer-associated pathways using the KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) database. Then quantitative RT-PCR was performed on an independent cohort of 44 snap-frozen surgical lung tissues to concurrently assess the expression profiles of miR-205 and its 52 putative targeted genes.
RESULTS: MicroRNA-205 yielded high diagnostic accuracy in discriminating SQ from AC with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.985, and discriminating SQ from SCLC with an AUC of 0.978 in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) surgical lung tissues. Predicted targets of miR-205 were associated with 52 key members of lung cancer signaling pathways. Ten target genes (ACSL1, AXIN2, CACNA2D2, FOXO3, PPP1R3A, PRKAG3, RUNX1, SMAD4, STK3 and TBL1XR1) were significantly down-regulated in SQ and had a strong negative correlation with miR-205, while one target gene (CDH3) was up-regulated in SQ and exhibited a strong positive correlation with miR-205.
CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed the high diagnostic accuracy of miR-205 in discriminating SQ from AC and SCLC in Chinese patients. Moreover, we identified 11 significant target genes of miR-205 which could be used for further functional studies as the basis for the development of SQ targeted therapies.

Rennoll SA, Konsavage WM, Yochum GS
Nuclear AXIN2 represses MYC gene expression.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 443(1):217-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The β-catenin transcriptional coactivator is the key mediator of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. In the absence of Wnt, β-catenin associates with a cytosolic and multi-protein destruction complex where it is phosphorylated and targeted for proteasomal degradation. In the presence of Wnt, the destruction complex is inactivated and β-catenin translocates into the nucleus. In the nucleus, β-catenin binds T-cell factor (TCF) transcription factors to activate expression of c-MYC (MYC) and Axis inhibition protein 2 (AXIN2). AXIN2 is a member of the destruction complex and, thus, serves in a negative feedback loop to control Wnt/β-catenin signaling. AXIN2 is also present in the nucleus, but its function within this compartment is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that AXIN2 localizes to the nuclei of epithelial cells within normal and colonic tumor tissues as well as colorectal cancer cell lines. In the nucleus, AXIN2 represses expression of Wnt/β-catenin-responsive luciferase reporters and forms a complex with β-catenin and TCF. We demonstrate that AXIN2 co-occupies β-catenin/TCF complexes at the MYC promoter region. When constitutively localized to the nucleus, AXIN2 alters the chromatin structure at the MYC promoter and directly represses MYC gene expression. These findings suggest that nuclear AXIN2 functions as a rheostat to control MYC expression in response to Wnt/β-catenin signaling.

Svedlund J, Barazeghi E, Stålberg P, et al.
The histone methyltransferase EZH2, an oncogene common to benign and malignant parathyroid tumors.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2014; 21(2):231-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) resulting from parathyroid tumors is a common endocrine disorder with incompletely understood etiology. In renal failure, secondary hyperparathyroidism (sHPT) occurs with multiple tumor development as a result of calcium and vitamin D regulatory disturbance. The aim of this study was to investigate a potential role of the histone 3 lysine 27 methyltransferase EZH2 in parathyroid tumorigenesis. Parathyroid tumors from patients with pHPT included adenomas and carcinomas. Hyperplastic parathyroid glands from patients with HPT secondary to uremia and normal parathyroid tissue specimens were included in this study. Quantitative RT-PCR, western blotting, bisulfite pyrosequencing, colony formation assay, and RNA interference were used. EZH2 was overexpressed in a subset of the benign and in all malignant parathyroid tumors as determined by quantitative RT-PCR and western blotting analyses. Overexpression was explained by EZH2 gene amplification in a large fraction of tumors. EZH2 depletion by RNA interference inhibited sHPT-1 parathyroid cell line proliferation as determined by tritium-thymidine incorporation and colony formation assays. EZH2 depletion also interfered with the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway by increased expression of growth-suppressive AXIN2, a negative regulator of β-catenin stability. Indeed, EZH2 contributed to the total level of aberrantly accumulated transcriptionally active (nonphosphoylated) β-catenin in the parathyroid tumor cells. To our knowledge EZH2 gene amplification presents the first genetic aberration common to parathyroid adenomas, secondary hyperplastic parathyroid glands, and parathyroid carcinomas. This supports the possibility of a common pathway in parathyroid tumor development.

Liu J, Pan S, Hsieh MH, et al.
Targeting Wnt-driven cancer through the inhibition of Porcupine by LGK974.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(50):20224-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Wnt signaling is one of the key oncogenic pathways in multiple cancers, and targeting this pathway is an attractive therapeutic approach. However, therapeutic success has been limited because of the lack of therapeutic agents for targets in the Wnt pathway and the lack of a defined patient population that would be sensitive to a Wnt inhibitor. We developed a screen for small molecules that block Wnt secretion. This effort led to the discovery of LGK974, a potent and specific small-molecule Porcupine (PORCN) inhibitor. PORCN is a membrane-bound O-acyltransferase that is required for and dedicated to palmitoylation of Wnt ligands, a necessary step in the processing of Wnt ligand secretion. We show that LGK974 potently inhibits Wnt signaling in vitro and in vivo, including reduction of the Wnt-dependent LRP6 phosphorylation and the expression of Wnt target genes, such as AXIN2. LGK974 is potent and efficacious in multiple tumor models at well-tolerated doses in vivo, including murine and rat mechanistic breast cancer models driven by MMTV-Wnt1 and a human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma model (HN30). We also show that head and neck cancer cell lines with loss-of-function mutations in the Notch signaling pathway have a high response rate to LGK974. Together, these findings provide both a strategy and tools for targeting Wnt-driven cancers through the inhibition of PORCN.

Brauburger K, Akyildiz S, Ruppert JG, et al.
Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) membrane recruitment 3, a member of the APC membrane recruitment family of APC-binding proteins, is a positive regulator of Wnt-β-catenin signalling.
FEBS J. 2014; 281(3):787-801 [PubMed] Related Publications
The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) membrane recruitment (Amer) family proteins Amer1/Wilms tumour gene on the X chromosome and Amer2 are binding partners of the APC tumour suppressor protein, and act as negative regulators in the Wnt signalling cascade. So far, nothing has been known about the third member of the family, Amer3. Here we show that Amer3 binds to the armadillo repeat domain of APC, similarly to Amer1 and Amer2. Amer3 also binds to the Wnt pathway regulator conductin/axin2. Furthermore, we identified Amer1 as binding partner of Amer3. Whereas Amer1 and Amer2 are linked to the plasma membrane by an N-terminal membrane localization domain, Amer3 lacks this domain. Amer3 localizes to the cytoplasm and nucleus of epithelial cells, and this is dependent on specific nuclear import and export sequences. Functionally, exogenous Amer3 enhances the expression of a β-catenin/T-cell factor-dependent reporter gene, and knockdown of endogenous Amer3 reduces Wnt target gene expression in colorectal cancer cells. Thus, Amer3 acts as an activator of Wnt signalling, in contrast to Amer1 and Amer2, which are inhibitors, suggesting a nonredundant role of Amer proteins in the regulation of this pathway. Our data, together with those of previous studies, provide a comprehensive picture of similarities and differences within the Amer protein family.

Bilir B, Kucuk O, Moreno CS
Wnt signaling blockage inhibits cell proliferation and migration, and induces apoptosis in triple-negative breast cancer cells.
J Transl Med. 2013; 11:280 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive clinical subtype of breast cancer that is characterized by the lack of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) expression as well as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) overexpression. The TNBC subtype constitutes approximately 10%-20% of all breast cancers, but has no effective molecular targeted therapies. Previous meta-analysis of gene expression profiles of 587 TNBC cases from 21 studies demonstrated high expression of Wnt signaling pathway-associated genes in basal-like 2 and mesenchymal subtypes of TNBC. In this study, we investigated the potential of Wnt pathway inhibitors in effective treatment of TNBC.
METHODS: Activation of Wnt pathway was assessed in four TNBC cell lines (BT-549, MDA-MB-231, HCC-1143 and HCC-1937), and the ER+ cell line MCF-7 using confocal microscopy and Western blot analysis of pathway components. Effectiveness of five different Wnt pathway inhibitors (iCRT-3, iCRT-5, iCRT-14, IWP-4 and XAV-939) on cell proliferation and apoptosis were tested in vitro. The inhibitory effects of iCRT-3 on canonical Wnt signaling in TNBC was evaluated by quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis of Axin2 and dual-luciferase reporter assays. The effects of shRNA knockdown of SOX4 in combination with iCRT-3 and/or genistein treatments on cell proliferation, migration and invasion on BT-549 cells were also evaluated.
RESULTS: Immunofluorescence staining of β-catenin in TNBC cell lines showed both nuclear and cytoplasmic localization, indicating activation of Wnt pathway in TNBC cells. iCRT-3 was the most effective compound for inhibiting proliferation and antagonizing Wnt signaling in TNBC cells. In addition, treatment with iCRT-3 resulted in increased apoptosis in vitro. Knockdown of the Wnt pathway transcription factor, SOX4 in triple negative BT-549 cells resulted in decreased cell proliferation and migration, and combination treatment of iCRT-3 with SOX4 knockdown had a synergistic effect on inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that targeting SOX4 and/or the Wnt pathway could have therapeutic benefit for TNBC patients.

Trautmann M, Sievers E, Aretz S, et al.
SS18-SSX fusion protein-induced Wnt/β-catenin signaling is a therapeutic target in synovial sarcoma.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(42):5006-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
Synovial sarcoma is a high-grade soft tissue malignancy characterized by a specific reciprocal translocation t(X;18), which leads to the fusion of the SS18 (SYT) gene to one of three SSX genes (SSX1, SSX2 or SSX4). The resulting chimeric SS18-SSX protein is suggested to act as an oncogenic transcriptional regulator. Despite multimodal therapeutic approaches, metastatic disease is often lethal and the development of novel targeted therapeutic strategies is required. Several expression-profiling studies identified distinct gene expression signatures, implying a consistent role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in synovial sarcoma tumorigenesis. Here we investigate the functional and therapeutic relevance of Wnt/β-catenin pathway activation in vitro and in vivo. Immunohistochemical analyses of nuclear β-catenin and Wnt downstream targets revealed activation of canonical Wnt signaling in a significant subset of 30 primary synovial sarcoma specimens. Functional aspects of Wnt signaling including dependence of Tcf/β-catenin complex activity on the SS18-SSX fusion proteins were analyzed. Efficient SS18-SSX-dependent activation of the Tcf/β-catenin transcriptional complex was confirmed by TOPflash reporter luciferase assays and immunoblotting. In five human synovial sarcoma cell lines, inhibition of the Tcf/β-catenin protein-protein interaction significantly blocked the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascade, accompanied by the effective downregulation of Wnt targets (AXIN2, CDC25A, c-MYC, DKK1, CyclinD1 and Survivin) and the specific suppression of cell viability associated with the induction of apoptosis. In SYO-1 synovial sarcoma xenografts, administration of small molecule Tcf/β-catenin complex inhibitors significantly reduced tumor growth, associated with diminished AXIN2 protein levels. In summary, SS18-SSX-induced Wnt/β-catenin signaling appears to be of crucial biological importance in synovial sarcoma tumorigenesis and progression, representing a potential molecular target for the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Kim JS, Park SY, Lee SA, et al.
MicroRNA-205 suppresses the oral carcinoma oncogenic activity via down-regulation of Axin-2 in KB human oral cancer cell.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2014; 387(1-2):71-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA (miRNA) is a small noncoding RNA molecule, 19-25 nucleotides in length, which regulates several pathways including cell development, cell proliferation, carcinogenesis, apoptosis, etc. In this study, the over-expression of microRNA-205 (miR-205) increased the number of apoptotic cells by at least 4 times compared to the control. In addition, over-expressed miRNA in KB oral cancer cells triggered apoptosis via the caspase cascade, including the cleavage of caspase-9, caspase-7, caspase-3, and PARP. Flow cytometry showed that apoptotic cell death was increased significantly by 35.33% in KB oral cancer cells with over-expressed miR-205 compared to the control. The microarray data showed that axis inhibitor protein 2 (Axin2) was down-regulated in KB oral cancer cells transfected with miR-205. In addition, Axin2 was down-regulated by approximately 50% by over-expressed miR-205 at both the mRNA and protein levels. Interestingly, Axin2 was up-regulated in KB oral cancer compared to human normal oral keratinocytes. Furthermore, the cell cytotoxicity and apoptotic population of KB oral cancer cells were increased significantly after Axin2 siRNA transfection. These results suggest that Axin2 is might be as potential oncogene in KB oral cancer cells. The luciferase assay showed that over-expressed miR-205 in KB oral cancer cells suppressed AXIN2 expression through an interaction with its own binding site at AXIN2 3'UTR (64-92). These results suggest that miR-205 is a novel anti-oncogenic miRNA in KB oral cancer cells, and may have potential applications in oral cancer therapy.

Ono M, Yin P, Navarro A, et al.
Paracrine activation of WNT/β-catenin pathway in uterine leiomyoma stem cells promotes tumor growth.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(42):17053-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Uterine leiomyomas are extremely common estrogen and progesterone-dependent tumors of the myometrium and cause irregular uterine bleeding, severe anemia, and recurrent pregnancy loss in 15-30% of reproductive-age women. Each leiomyoma is thought to arise from a single mutated myometrial smooth muscle stem cell. Leiomyoma side-population (LMSP) cells comprising 1% of all tumor cells and displaying tumor-initiating stem cell characteristics are essential for estrogen- and progesterone-dependent in vivo growth of tumors, although they have remarkably lower estrogen/progesterone receptor levels than mature myometrial or leiomyoma cells. However, how estrogen/progesterone regulates the growth of LMSP cells via mature neighboring cells is unknown. Here, we demonstrate a critical paracrine role of the wingless-type (WNT)/β-catenin pathway in estrogen/progesterone-dependent tumorigenesis, involving LMSP and differentiated myometrial or leiomyoma cells. Estrogen/progesterone treatment of mature myometrial cells induced expression of WNT11 and WNT16, which remained constitutively elevated in leiomyoma tissues. In LMSP cells cocultured with mature myometrial cells, estrogen-progesterone selectively induced nuclear translocation of β-catenin and induced transcriptional activity of its heterodimeric partner T-cell factor and their target gene AXIN2, leading to the proliferation of LMSP cells. This effect could be blocked by a WNT antagonist. Ectopic expression of inhibitor of β-catenin and T-cell factor 4 in LMSP cells, but not in mature leiomyoma cells, blocked the estrogen/progesterone-dependent growth of human tumors in vivo. We uncovered a paracrine role of the WNT/β-catenin pathway that enables mature myometrial or leiomyoma cells to send mitogenic signals to neighboring tissue stem cells in response to estrogen and progesterone, leading to the growth of uterine leiomyomas.

Mostowska A, Pawlik P, Sajdak S, et al.
An analysis of polymorphisms within the Wnt signaling pathway in relation to ovarian cancer risk in a Polish population.
Mol Diagn Ther. 2014; 18(1):85-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been considered to be a factor in the development and progression of ovarian cancer.
METHODS: All patients with ovarian cancer and controls were tested for BRCA1 mutations (5382incC, C61G, 4153delA) with HybProbe assays and for BRCA2 mutation (5946delT) using high-resolution melting curve analysis (HRM). Mutation carriers were excluded from the association analysis. We studied nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in CTNNB1 (β-catenin) [rs4533622, rs2953], APC (rs11954856, rs351771, rs459552), and AXIN2 (rs4074947, rs7224837, rs3923087, rs2240308) in women with ovarian cancer without BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations (n = 228) and controls (n = 282). Genotyping of CTNNB1 rs4533622, rs2953, APC rs351771, AXIN2 rs4074947, rs3923087, and rs2240308 was performed by HRM, while that of APC rs11954856, rs459552 and AXIN2 rs7224837 was conducted by PCR followed by the appropriate restriction enzyme digestion [PCR–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP)].
RESULTS: The most common BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations were identified in 30 patients with ovarian cancer. These mutations were not found in controls. The lowest p values of the trend test (p trend) were observed for the APC rs351771 and rs11954856 SNPs in patients with ovarian cancer (p trend = 0.006 and p trend = 0.007, respectively). Using a dominant inheritance model, we found that the APC rs11954856 SNP is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer development [odds ratio = 2.034 (95 % CI 1.302–3.178); p = 0.002]. We also observed significant allelic differences for the APC rs351771 SNP between patients and controls (p = 0.006).
CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrated significantly increased APC rs11954856 and rs351771 SNP frequencies in Polish women with ovarian cancer.

Fox SA, Richards AK, Kusumah I, et al.
Expression profile and function of Wnt signaling mechanisms in malignant mesothelioma cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 440(1):82-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an uncommon and particularly aggressive cancer associated with asbestos exposure, which currently presents an intractable clinical challenge. Wnt signaling has been reported to play a role in the neoplastic properties of mesothelioma cells but has not been investigated in detail in this cancer. We surveyed expression of Wnts, their receptors, and other key molecules in this pathway in well established in vitro mesothelioma models in comparison with primary mesothelial cultures. We also tested the biological response of MM cell lines to exogenous Wnt and secreted regulators, as well as targeting β-catenin. We detected frequent expression of Wnt3 and Wnt5a, as well as Fzd 2, 4 and 6. The mRNA of Wnt4, Fzd3, sFRP4, APC and axin2 were downregulated in MM relative to mesothelial cells while LEF1 was overexpressed in MM. Functionally, we observed that Wnt3a stimulated MM proliferation while sFRP4 was inhibitory. Furthermore, directly targeting β-catenin expression could sensitise MM cells to cytotoxic drugs. These results provide evidence for altered expression of a number of Wnt/Fzd signaling molecules in MM. Modulation of Wnt signaling in MM may prove a means of targeting proliferation and drug resistance in this cancer.

Sareddy GR, Kesanakurti D, Kirti PB, Babu PP
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs diclofenac and celecoxib attenuates Wnt/β-catenin/Tcf signaling pathway in human glioblastoma cells.
Neurochem Res. 2013; 38(11):2313-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive primary brain tumors, carry a bleak prognosis and often recur even after standard treatment modalities. Emerging evidence suggests that deregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin/Tcf signaling pathway contributes to glioblastoma progression. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit tumor cell proliferation by suppressing Wnt/β-catenin/Tcf signaling in various human malignancies. In this study, we sought to inhibit Wnt/β-catenin/Tcf signaling in glioblastoma cells by the NSAIDs diclofenac and celecoxib. Both diclofenac and celecoxib significantly reduced the proliferation, colony formation and migration of human glioblastoma cells. Diclofenac and celecoxib downregulated β-catenin/Tcf reporter activity. Western and qRT-PCR analysis showed that diclofenac and celecoxib reduced the expression of β-catenin target genes Axin2, cyclin D1 and c-Myc. In addition, the cytoplasmic accumulation and nuclear translocation of β-catenin was significantly reduced following diclofenac and celecoxib treatment. Furthermore, diclofenac and celecoxib significantly increased phosphorylation of β-catenin and reduced the phosphorylation of GSK3β. These results clearly indicated that diclofenac and celecoxib are potential therapeutic agents against glioblastoma cells that act by suppressing the activation of Wnt/β-catenin/Tcf signaling.

Hidaka Y, Mitomi H, Saito T, et al.
Alteration in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in gastric neoplasias of fundic gland (chief cell predominant) type.
Hum Pathol. 2013; 44(11):2438-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric neoplasia of chief cell-predominant type (GN-CCP) has been reported as a new, rare variant of gastric tumor. GN-CCPs were defined as tumors consisting of irregular anastomosing glands of columnar cells mimicking chief cells of fundic gland with nuclear atypia and prolapse-type submucosal involvement. We comparatively evaluated clinicopathologic features between 31 GN-CCPs and 130 cases of conventional gastric adenocarcinoma invading into submucosa (CGA-SM) in addition to nuclear β-catenin immunolabeling and direct sequencing of members of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, CTNNB1, APC, and AXIN, in a subset of these tumors. GN-CCP presented as small protruded lesions located in the upper third of the stomach, with minimal involvement into the submucosa and rare lymphovascular invasion. None of the lesions have demonstrated a recurrence of disease or metastasis on follow-up. Nuclear β-catenin immunolabeling was higher in GN-CCP (labeling index [LI]: median, 19.3%; high expresser [LI >30%], 7/27 cases [26%]) than CGA-SM (median LI, 14.7%; high expresser, 1/19 cases [6%]). Missense mutation of APC was observed in 1 GN-CCP but not CGA-SM. Missense or nonsense mutations of CTNNB1 and AXIN1 were higher in GN-CCPs (14.8%, both) than CGA-SMs (5.3%, both). Missense mutations of AXIN2 were higher in GN-CCPs (25.9%) than in CGA-SMs (10.5%). Overall, 14 (51.9%) of 27 GN-CCPs and 5 (26.3%) of 19 CGA-SM cases harbored at least 1 of these gene mutations. In conclusion, GN-CCPs as a unique variant of nonaggressive tumor are characterized by nuclear β-catenin accumulation and mutation of CTNNB1 or AXIN gene, suggesting activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

Dominguez-Valentin M, Therkildsen C, Veerla S, et al.
Distinct gene expression signatures in lynch syndrome and familial colorectal cancer type x.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(8):e71755 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Heredity is estimated to cause at least 20% of colorectal cancer. The hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer subset is divided into Lynch syndrome and familial colorectal cancer type X (FCCTX) based on presence of mismatch repair (MMR) gene defects.
PURPOSE: We addressed the gene expression signatures in colorectal cancer linked to Lynch syndrome and FCCTX with the aim to identify candidate genes and to map signaling pathways relevant in hereditary colorectal carcinogenesis.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The 18 k whole-genome c-DNA-mediated annealing, selection, extension, and ligation (WG-DASL) assay was applied to 123 colorectal cancers, including 39 Lynch syndrome tumors and 37 FCCTX tumors. Target genes were technically validated using real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and the expression signature was validated in independent datasets.
RESULTS: Colorectal cancers linked to Lynch syndrome and FCCTX showed distinct gene expression profiles, which by significance analysis of microarrays (SAM) differed by 2188 genes. Functional pathways involved were related to G-protein coupled receptor signaling, oxidative phosphorylation, and cell cycle function and mitosis. qRT-PCR verified altered expression of the selected genes NDUFA9, AXIN2, MYC, DNA2 and H2AFZ. Application of the 2188-gene signature to independent datasets showed strong correlation to MMR status.
CONCLUSION: Distinct genetic profiles and deregulation of different canonical pathways apply to Lynch syndrome and FCCTX and key targets herein may be relevant to pursue for refined diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in hereditary colorectal cancer.

Rasmussen NR, Wright TM, Brooks SA, et al.
Receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 2 (Ror2) expression creates a poised state of Wnt signaling in renal cancer.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(36):26301-10 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Expression of the receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 2 (Ror2) has been identified in an increasing array of tumor types and is known to play a role as an important mediator of Wnt signaling cascades. In this study, we aimed to clarify Ror2 interactions with the Wnt pathways within the context of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). An examination of Ror2 expression in primary human RCC tumors showed a significant correlation with several Wnt signaling genes, including the classical feedback target gene Axin2. We provide evidence that Ror2 expression results in a partially activated state for canonical Wnt signaling through an increased signaling pool of β-catenin, leading to an enhancement of downstream target genes following Wnt3a stimulation in both renal and renal carcinoma-derived cells. Additionally, inhibition of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) with either siRNA or dickkopf decreased the response to Wnt3a stimulation, but no change was seen in the increased β-catenin pool associated with Ror2 expression, suggesting that LRP6 cofactor recruitment is necessary for a Wnt3a-induced signal but that it does not participate in the Ror2 effect on β-catenin signaling. These results highlight a new role for Ror2 in conveying a tonic signal to stabilize soluble β-catenin and create a poised state of enhanced responsiveness to Wnt3a exogenous signals in RCC.

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