Gene Summary

Gene:CTNNB1; catenin (cadherin-associated protein), beta 1, 88kDa
Aliases: CTNNB, MRD19, armadillo
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is part of a complex of proteins that constitute adherens junctions (AJs). AJs are necessary for the creation and maintenance of epithelial cell layers by regulating cell growth and adhesion between cells. The encoded protein also anchors the actin cytoskeleton and may be responsible for transmitting the contact inhibition signal that causes cells to stop dividing once the epithelial sheet is complete. Finally, this protein binds to the product of the APC gene, which is mutated in adenomatous polyposis of the colon. Mutations in this gene are a cause of colorectal cancer (CRC), pilomatrixoma (PTR), medulloblastoma (MDB), and ovarian cancer. Three transcript variants encoding the same protein have been found for this gene.[provided by RefSeq, Oct 2009]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:catenin beta-1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 28 February, 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 28 February 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.

Tag cloud generated 28 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (13)

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

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Colorectal CancerCTNNB1 and Colorectal Cancer View Publications1013
-CTNNB1 and Hepatocellular Carcinoma View Publications557
Liver CancerCTNNB1 and Liver Cancer View Publications371
Stomach CancerCTNNB1 mutations in Gastric Cancer View Publications361
Prostate CancerCTNNB1 and Prostate Cancer View Publications312
Ovarian CancerCTNNB1 and Ovarian Cancer View Publications258
Breast CancerCTNNB1 and Breast Cancer View Publications251
MelanomaCTNNB1 and Melanoma View Publications215
Lung CancerCTNNB1 and Lung Cancer View Publications183
Thyroid CancerCTNNB1 and Thyroid Cancer View Publications101
HepatoblastomaCTNNB1 and Hepatoblastoma View Publications62
MedulloblastomaCTNNB1 and Medullobalastoma
In an ICGC deep sequencing study of 125 medulloblastoma tumour-normal pairs, (Jones DTW et al, 2012) reported CTNNB1 mutations in 15 (12%) of cases. In an exome sequencing study of medulloblastoma (Pugh et al, 2012) reported CTNNB1 as one of 12 genes mutated at significant levels: with CTNNB1 mutations in 6/92 patients (7%); all missense mutations.
View Publications55
Adrenocortical CancerCTNNB1 and Adrenocortical Carcinoma
Assié, et al (2014) identified recurrent alterations in CTNNB1 in a GWAS study of 45 Adrenocortical carcinomas, with results verified in a further independent set of 77 samples.
View Publications25

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

Latest Publications: CTNNB1 (cancer-related)

Chen C, Zhang HX, Wang M, et al.
Stromal cells attenuate the cytotoxicity of imatinib on Philadelphia chromosome-positive leukemia cells by up-regulating the VE-cadherin/β-catenin signal.
Leuk Res. 2014; 38(12):1460-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
β-Catenin is a key regulator of leukemia stem cell maintenance and drug resistance. Herein, we investigated the protective effects of the stromal cell-mediated VE-cadherin-β-catenin signal on Ph+ leukemia cells during imatinib treatment. We found stromal cells could desensitize imatinib and up-regulate VE-cadherin expression on Ph+ leukemia cells (K562 and SUP-B15 cells), which further stabilized and activated β-catenin. Knockdown of VE-cadherin with shRNA diminished the β-catenin protein and partly resensitized Ph+ leukemia cells to imatinib despite the presence of stromal cells, suggesting VE-cadherin is a potential target in the treatment of Ph+ leukemia.

Wood LD, Klimstra DS
Pathology and genetics of pancreatic neoplasms with acinar differentiation.
Semin Diagn Pathol. 2014; 31(6):491-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic neoplasms with acinar differentiation, including acinar cell carcinoma, pancreatoblastoma, and carcinomas with mixed differentiation, are distinctive pancreatic neoplasms with a poor prognosis. These neoplasms are clinically, pathologically, and genetically unique when compared to other more common pancreatic neoplasms. Most occur in adults, although pancreatoblastomas usually affect children under 10 years old. All of these neoplasms exhibit characteristic histologic features including a solid or acinar growth pattern, dense neoplastic cellularity, uniform nuclei with prominent nucleoli, and granular eosinophilic cytoplasm. Exocrine enzymes are detectable by immunohistochemistry and, for carcinomas with mixed differentiation, neuroendocrine or ductal lineage markers are also expressed. The genetic alterations of this family of neoplasms largely differ from conventional ductal adenocarcinomas, with only rare mutations in TP53, KRAS, and p16, but no single gene or neoplastic pathway is consistently altered in acinar neoplasms. Instead, there is striking genomic instability, and a subset of cases has mutations in the APC/β-catenin pathway, mutations in SMAD4, RAF gene family fusions, or microsatellite instability. Therapeutically targetable mutations are often present. This review summarizes the clinical and pathologic features of acinar neoplasms and reviews the current molecular data on these uncommon tumors.

Rosanò L, Cianfrocca R, Tocci P, et al.
Endothelin A receptor/β-arrestin signaling to the Wnt pathway renders ovarian cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(24):7453-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
The high mortality of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is mainly caused by resistance to the available therapies. In EOC, the endothelin-1 (ET-1, EDN1)-endothelin A receptor (ETAR, EDNRA) signaling axis regulates the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and a chemoresistant phenotype. However, there is a paucity of knowledge about how ET-1 mediates drug resistance. Here, we define a novel bypass mechanism through which ETAR/β-arrestin-1 (β-arr1, ARRB1) links Wnt signaling to acquire chemoresistant and EMT phenotype. We found that ETAR/β-arr1 activity promoted nuclear complex with β-catenin and p300, resulting in histone acetylation, chromatin reorganization, and enhanced transcription of genes, such as ET-1, enhancing the network that sustains chemoresistance. Silencing of β-arr1 or pharmacologic treatment with the dual ETAR/ETBR antagonist macitentan prevented core complex formation and restored drug sensitivity, impairing the signaling pathways involved in cell survival, EMT, and invasion. In vivo macitentan treatment reduced tumor growth, vascularization, intravasation, and metastatic progression. The combination of macitentan and cisplatinum resulted in the potentiation of the cytotoxic effect, indicating that macitentan can enhance sensitivity to chemotherapy. Investigations in clinical specimens of chemoresistant EOC tissues confirmed increased recruitment of β-arr1 and β-catenin to ET-1 gene promoter. In these tissues, high expression of ETAR significantly associated with poor clinical outcome and chemoresistance. Collectively, our findings reveal the existence of a novel mechanism by which ETAR/β-arr1 signaling is integrated with the Wnt/β-catenin pathway to sustain chemoresistance in EOC, and they offer a solid rationale for clinical evaluation of macitentan in combination with chemotherapy to overcome chemoresistance in this setting.

Johnson RW, Merkel AR, Page JM, et al.
Wnt signaling induces gene expression of factors associated with bone destruction in lung and breast cancer.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2014; 31(8):945-59 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is an important regulator of bone destruction in bone metastatic tumors. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) stimulates PTHrP production in part through the transcription factor Gli2, which is regulated independent of the Hedgehog signaling pathway in osteolytic cancer cells. However, inhibition of TGF-β in vivo does not fully inhibit tumor growth in bone or tumor-induced bone destruction, suggesting other pathways are involved. While Wnt signaling regulates Gli2 in development, the role of Wnt signaling in bone metastasis is unknown. Therefore, we investigated whether Wnt signaling regulates Gli2 expression in tumor cells that induce bone destruction. We report here that Wnt activation by β-catenin/T cell factor 4 (TCF4) over-expression or lithium chloride (LiCl) treatment increased Gli2 and PTHrP expression in osteolytic cancer cells. This was mediated through the TCF and Smad binding sites within the Gli2 promoter as determined by promoter mutation studies, suggesting cross-talk between TGF-β and Wnt signaling. Culture of tumor cells on substrates with bone-like rigidity increased Gli2 and PTHrP production, enhanced autocrine Wnt activity and led to an increase in the TCF/Wnt signaling reporter (TOPFlash), enriched β-catenin nuclear accumulation, and elevated Wnt-related genes by PCR-array. Stromal cells serve as an additional paracrine source of Wnt ligands and enhanced Gli2 and PTHrP mRNA levels in MDA-MB-231 and RWGT2 cells in vitro and promoted tumor-induced bone destruction in vivo in a β-catenin/Wnt3a-dependent mechanism. These data indicate that a combination of matrix rigidity and stromal-secreted factors stimulate Gli2 and PTHrP through Wnt signaling in osteolytic breast cancer cells, and there is significant cross-talk between the Wnt and TGF-β signaling pathways. This suggests that the Wnt signaling pathway may be a potential therapeutic target for inhibiting tumor cell response to the bone microenvironment and at the very least should be considered in clinical regimens targeting TGF-β signaling.

Shiah SG, Hsiao JR, Chang WM, et al.
Downregulated miR329 and miR410 promote the proliferation and invasion of oral squamous cell carcinoma by targeting Wnt-7b.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(24):7560-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
microRNA (miRNA) dysregulation contributes widely to human cancer but has not been fully assessed in oral cancers. In this study, we conducted a global microarray analysis of miRNA expression in 40 pairs of betel quid-associated oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) specimens and their matched nontumorous epithelial counterparts. Eighty-four miRNAs were differentially expressed in the OSCC specimens compared with the matched tissue. Among these downregulated miRNAs, 19 miRNAs were found and mapped to the chromosome 14q32.2 miRNA cluster region, which resides within a parentally imprinted region designated as Dlk-Dio3 and known to be important in development and growth. Bioinformatic analysis predicted two miRNAs from the cluster region, miR329 and miR410, which could potentially target Wnt-7b, an activator of the Wnt-β-catenin pathway, thereby attenuating the Wnt-β-catenin signaling pathway in OSCC. Stable ectopic expression of Wnt-7b in OSCC cells overexpressing miR329 or miR410 restored proliferation and invasion capabilities abolished by these miRNA. Combining a demethylation agent and a histone deacetylase inhibitor was sufficient to reexpress miR329, miR410, and Meg3, consistent with epigenetic regulation of these miRNA in human OSCC. Specifically, arecoline, a major betel nut alkaloid, reduced miR329, miR410, and Meg3 gene expression. Overall, our results provide novel molecular insights into how betel quid contributes to oral carcinogenesis through epigenetic silencing of tumor-suppressor miRNA that targets Wnt-β-catenin signaling.

Wang Y, Bu F, Royer C, et al.
ASPP2 controls epithelial plasticity and inhibits metastasis through β-catenin-dependent regulation of ZEB1.
Nat Cell Biol. 2014; 16(11):1092-104 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), and the reverse mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET), are known examples of epithelial plasticity that are important in kidney development and cancer metastasis. Here we identify ASPP2, a haploinsufficient tumour suppressor, p53 activator and PAR3 binding partner, as a molecular switch of MET and EMT. ASPP2 contributes to MET in mouse kidney in vivo. Mechanistically, ASPP2 induces MET through its PAR3-binding amino-terminus, independently of p53 binding. ASPP2 prevents β-catenin from transactivating ZEB1, directly by forming an ASPP2-β-catenin-E-cadherin ternary complex and indirectly by inhibiting β-catenin's N-terminal phosphorylation to stabilize the β-catenin-E-cadherin complex. ASPP2 limits the pro-invasive property of oncogenic RAS and inhibits tumour metastasis in vivo. Reduced ASPP2 expression results in EMT, and is associated with poor survival in hepatocellular carcinoma and breast cancer patients. Hence, ASPP2 is a key regulator of epithelial plasticity that connects cell polarity to the suppression of WNT signalling, EMT and tumour metastasis.

Sun S, Liu S, Duan SZ, et al.
Targeting the c-Met/FZD8 signaling axis eliminates patient-derived cancer stem-like cells in head and neck squamous carcinomas.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(24):7546-59 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem-like cells (CSC) thought to contribute to head and neck squamous carcinomas (HNSCC) may offer attractive therapeutic targets if a tractable approach can be developed. In this study, we report that silencing c-Met is sufficient to suppress sphere formation, tumor initiation, and metastatic properties of HN-CSC. Pharmacologic inhibition of c-Met with the selective inhibitor PF-2341066 preferentially targeted CSC and synergized with conventional chemotherapy to improve efficacy in a mouse xenograft model of HNSCC, impeding tumor growth and reducing metastasis. Mechanistic investigations showed that CSC elimination was due to downregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in HN-CSC and that the Wnt pathway receptor FZD8 was essential for interactions of c-Met and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in HN-CSC. Notably, ectopic expression of FZD8 rescued the impaired phenotype of HN-CSC where c-Met was inhibited. Furthermore, c-Met upregulated FZD8 through the ERK/c-Fos cascade in HN-CSC. Taken together, our results offer a preclinical proof-of-concept for targeting the c-Met/FZD8 signaling axis as a CSC-directed therapy to improve HNSCC treatment.

Li G, Wang Y, Liu Y, et al.
miR-185-3p regulates nasopharyngeal carcinoma radioresistance by targeting WNT2B in vitro.
Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(12):1560-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant microRNA (miRNA) expression contributes to a series of malignant cancer behaviors, including radioresistance. Our previous study showed differential expression of miR-185-3p in post-radiation nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells. To investigate the role of miR-185-3p in NPC radioresistance, CNE-2 and 5-8F cells were transfected with miR-185-3p mimic and miR-185-3p inhibitor, respectively. CCK-8 assay and colony formation experiment confirmed that the expression of miR-185-3p affected the radioresistance of NPC cells. A negative correlation between miR-185-3p and WNT2B expression was observed in NPC cells and tissues. Luciferase reporter assays confirmed that miR-185-3p directly targeted the coding region of WNT2B. Furthermore, we found radioresistance decreased in WNT2B-silenced NPC cells. Activation of the WNT2B/β-catenin pathway was accompanied by epithelial-mesenchymal transition biomarker changes in NPC. We concluded that miR-185-3p contributed to the radioresistance of NPC via modulation of WNT2B expression in vitro.

Liu H, Yan ZQ, Li B, et al.
Reduced expression of SOX7 in ovarian cancer: a novel tumor suppressor through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
J Ovarian Res. 2014; 7:87 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Products of the SOX gene family play important roles in the life process. One of the members, SOX7, is associated with the development of a variety of cancers as a tumor suppression factor, but its relevance with ovarian cancer was unclear. In this study, we investigated the involvement of SOX7 in the progression and prognosis of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and the involved mechanisms.
METHODS: Expression profiles in two independent microarray data sets were analyzed for SOX7 between malignant and normal tissues. The expression levels of SOX7 in EOC, borderline ovarian tumors and normal ovarian tissues were measured by immunohistochemistry. We also measured levels of COX2 and cyclin-D1 to examine their possible involvement in the same signal transduction pathway as SOX7.
RESULTS: The expression of SOX7 was significantly reduced in ovarian cancer tissues compared with normal controls, strongly indicating that SOX7 might be a negative regulator in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in ovarian cancer. By immunohistochemistry staining, the protein expression of SOX7 showed a consistent trend with that of the gene expression microarray analysis. By contrast, the protein expression level of COX2 and cyclin-D1 increased as the tumor malignancy progressed, suggesting that SOX7 may function through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway as a tumor suppressor. In comparison between the protein expression levels of SOX7 with pathological features of the cancer, we found that SOX7 was down-regulated mainly in serous cystadenocarcinoma and advanced stages of the cancers.
CONCLUSIONS: The expression of SOX7 correlates with tumor progression as a tumor suppressor, possibly through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in ovarian cancers, suggesting that SOX7 may be a promising prognostic marker.

Dietrich PA, Yang C, Leung HH, et al.
GPR84 sustains aberrant β-catenin signaling in leukemic stem cells for maintenance of MLL leukemogenesis.
Blood. 2014; 124(22):3284-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
β-catenin is required for establishment of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Targeted inhibition of β-catenin signaling has been hampered by the lack of pathway components amenable to pharmacologic manipulation. Here we identified a novel β-catenin regulator, GPR84, a member of the G protein-coupled receptor family that represents a highly tractable class of drug targets. High GPR84 expression levels were confirmed in human and mouse AML LSCs compared with hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Suppression of GPR84 significantly inhibited cell growth by inducing G1-phase cell-cycle arrest in pre-LSCs, reduced LSC frequency, and impaired reconstitution of stem cell-derived mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) AML, which represents an aggressive and drug-resistant subtype of AML. The GPR84-deficient phenotype in established AML could be rescued by expression of constitutively active β-catenin. Furthermore, GPR84 conferred a growth advantage to Hoxa9/Meis1a-transduced stem cells. Microarray analysis demonstrated that GPR84 significantly upregulated a small set of MLL-fusion targets and β-catenin coeffectors, and downregulated a hematopoietic cell-cycle inhibitor. Altogether, our data reveal a previously unrecognized role of GPR84 in maintaining fully developed AML by sustaining aberrant β-catenin signaling in LSCs, and suggest that targeting the oncogenic GPR84/β-catenin signaling axis may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for AML.

Nomura R, Saito T, Mitomi H, et al.
GNAS mutation as an alternative mechanism of activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in gastric adenocarcinoma of the fundic gland type.
Hum Pathol. 2014; 45(12):2488-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric adenocarcinoma of the fundic gland type (GAFG) is a rare variant of gastric tumor. We have recently reported the frequent accumulation of β-catenin in GAFGs and showed that approximately half of the cases studied harbored at least 1 mutation in CTNNB1/AXINs/APC, leading to the constitutive activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. However, the mechanisms of Wnt signaling activation in the remaining cases are unknown. Accumulating evidence showed that the activating mutation in GNAS promotes tumorigenesis via the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway or the ERK1/2 MAPK pathway. Therefore, we analyzed the mutations in GNAS (exons 8 and 9) and in KRAS (exon 2) in 26 GAFGs. Immunohistochemistry revealed nuclear β-catenin expression in 22 of 26 GAFGs, and 10 (38.5%) of 26 cases harbored at least 1 mutation in CTNNB1/AXINs/APC. Activating mutations in GNAS were found in 5 (19.2%) of 26 GAFGs, all of which harbored R201C mutations. Activating mutations in KRAS were found in 2 (7.7%) of 26 GAFGs, and both of these also contained GNAS activating mutations. Four of 5 cases with GNAS mutation showed nuclear β-catenin expression, and presence of GNAS mutation was associated with β-catenin nuclear expression (P = .01). Furthermore, 3 of these 4 cases did not harbor mutations in CTNNB1, APC, or AXINs, suggesting that mutations in the Wnt component genes and those in GNAS occur almost exclusively. These results suggest that GNAS mutation might occur in a small subset of GAFG as an alternative mechanism of activating the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

Guo H, Nagy T, Pierce M
Post-translational glycoprotein modifications regulate colon cancer stem cells and colon adenoma progression in Apc(min/+) mice through altered Wnt receptor signaling.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(45):31534-49 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
Deletion of GnT-V (MGAT5), which synthesizes N-glycans with β(1,6)-branched glycans, reduced the compartment of cancer stem cells (CSC) in the her-2 mouse model of breast cancer, leading to delay of tumor onset. Because GnT-V levels are also commonly up-regulated in colon cancer, we investigated their regulation of colon CSC and adenoma development. Anchorage-independent cell growth and tumor formation induced by injection of colon tumor cells into NOD/SCID mice were positively associated with GnT-V levels, indicating regulation of proliferation and tumorigenicity. Using Apc(min/+) mice with different GnT-V backgrounds, knock-out of GnT-V had no significant effect on the number of adenoma/mouse, but adenoma size was significantly reduced and accompanied increased survival of Apc(min/+) mice with GnT-V deletion (p < 0.01), suggesting an inhibition in the progression of colon adenoma caused by deletion of GnT-V. Decreased expression levels of GnT-V down-regulated the population of colon (intestine) CSC, affecting their ability for self-renewal and tumorigenicity in NOD/SCID mice. Furthermore, altered nuclear translocation of β-catenin and expression of Wnt target genes were positively associated with expression levels of GnT-V, indicating the regulation of canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling. By overexpressing the Wnt receptor, FZD-7, in colon cancer cells, we found that FZD-7 receptors expressed N-linked β(1,6) branching, indicating that FZD-7 can be modified by GnT-V. The aberrant Wnt signaling observed after modulating GnT-V levels is likely to result from altered N-linked β(1,6) branching on FZD-7, thereby affecting Wnt signaling, the compartment of CSC, and tumor progression.

Quetglas IM, Moeini A, Pinyol R, Llovet JM
Integration of genomic information in the clinical management of HCC.
Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2014; 28(5):831-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
Molecular profiling of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is enabling the advancement of novel approaches to disease diagnosis and management. Accurate prognosis prediction in HCC is specially critical. Clinical staging systems for HCC support clinical decision-making (e.g., BCLC algorithm) might be complemented by molecular-based information in the near future. Molecular signatures derived from tumour and non-tumour samples are associated with patient recurrence an outcome. Single nucleotide polymorphisms have been linked with HCC development. Next generation sequencing studies have brought to light the genomic diversity of this disease. Gens recurrently altered in HCC and susceptible to be targeted belong to signalling pathways including telomere maintenance, cell cycle, chromatin remodelling, Wnt/beta-catenin, RAS/RAF/MAPK and PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways. Oncogenic loops are unknown but might include some of the already discovered aberrations. Despite the intratumoral heterogeneity observed in HCC tumours, studies including large number of samples can identify key genetic drivers and contribute to the development of novel treatments and a personalized medicine.

Mazzoni SM, Fearon ER
AXIN1 and AXIN2 variants in gastrointestinal cancers.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 355(1):1-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 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.

Piao Z, Hong CS, Jung MR, et al.
Thymosin β4 induces invasion and migration of human colorectal cancer cells through the ILK/AKT/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 452(3):858-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thymosin β4 (Tβ4) is a 43-amino-acid peptide involved in many biological processes. However, the precise molecular signaling mechanism(s) of Tβ4 in cell invasion and migration remain unclear. In this study, we show that Tβ4 was significantly overexpressed in colorectal cancer tissues compared to adjacent normal tissues and high levels of Tβ4 were correlated with stage of colorectal cancer, and that Tβ4 expression was associated with morphogenesis and EMT. Tβ4-upregulated cancer cells showed increased adhesion, invasion and migration activity, whereas Tβ4-downregulated cells showed decreased activities. We also demonstrated that Tβ4 interacts with ILK, which promoted the phosphorylation and activation of AKT, the phosphorylation and inactivation of GSK3β, the expression and nuclear localization of β-catenin, and integrin receptor activation. These results suggest that Tβ4 is an important regulator of the ILK/AKT/β-catenin/Integrin signaling cascade to induce cell invasion and migration in colorectal cancer cells, and is a potential target for cancer treatment.

Zhang Y, Moschetta M, Huynh D, et al.
Pyk2 promotes tumor progression in multiple myeloma.
Blood. 2014; 124(17):2675-86 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
Proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) is a member of the focal adhesion kinase family that has been recently linked to tumor development. However, its role in modulating multiple myeloma (MM) biology and disease progression remains unexplored. We first demonstrated that patients with MM present with higher expression of Pyk2 compared with healthy individuals. By using loss-of-function approaches, we found that Pyk2 inhibition led to reduction of MM tumor growth in vivo as well as decreased cell proliferation, cell-cycle progression, and adhesion ability in vitro. In turn, overexpression of Pyk2 promoted the malignant phenotype, substantiated by enhanced tumor growth and reduced survival. Mechanistically, inhibition of Pyk2 reduced activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by destabilizing β-catenin, leading to downregulation of c-Myc and Cyclin D1. Furthermore, treatment of MM cells with the FAK/Pyk2 inhibitor VS-4718 effectively inhibited MM cell growth both in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our findings describe the tumor-promoting role of Pyk2 in MM, thus providing molecular evidence for a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor as a new therapeutic option in MM.

Schmidt ML, Donninger H, Clark GJ
Ras regulates SCF(β-TrCP) protein activity and specificity via its effector protein NORE1A.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(45):31102-10 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
Ras is the most frequently activated oncogene found in human cancer, but its mechanisms of action remain only partially understood. Ras activates multiple signaling pathways to promote transformation. However, Ras can also exhibit a potent ability to induce growth arrest and death. NORE1A (RASSF5) is a direct Ras effector that acts as a tumor suppressor by promoting apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Expression of NORE1A is frequently lost in human tumors, and its mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we show that NORE1A forms a direct, Ras-regulated complex with β-TrCP, the substrate recognition component of the SCF(β-TrCP) ubiquitin ligase complex. This interaction allows Ras to stimulate the ubiquitin ligase activity of SCF(β-TrCP) toward its target β-catenin, resulting in degradation of β-catenin by the 26 S proteasome. However, the action of Ras/NORE1A/β-TrCP is substrate-specific because IκB, another substrate of SCF(β-TrCP), is not sensitive to NORE1A-promoted degradation. We identify a completely new signaling mechanism for Ras that allows for the specific regulation of SCF(β-TrCP) targets. We show that the NORE1A levels in a cell may dictate the effects of Ras on the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Moreover, because NORE1A expression is frequently impaired in tumors, we provide an explanation for the observation that β-TrCP can act as a tumor suppressor or an oncogene in different cell systems.

Liu Y, Patel L, Mills GB, et al.
Clinical significance of CTNNB1 mutation and Wnt pathway activation in endometrioid endometrial carcinoma.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106(9) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Endometrioid endometrial carcinoma (EEC) is the most common form of endometrial carcinoma. The heterogeneous clinical course of EEC is an obstacle to individualized patient care.
METHODS: We performed an integrated analysis on the multiple-dimensional data types including whole-exome and RNA sequencing, RPPA profiling, and clinical data from 271 EEC cases in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to identify molecular fingerprints that may account for this clinical heterogeneity. Significance analysis of microarray was used to identify marker genes of each subtype that were subject to pathway analysis. Association of molecular subtypes with clinical features and mutation data was analyzed with the Mann Whitney, Chi-square, Fisher's exact, and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Survival analysis was evaluated with log-rank test. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: Four transcriptome subtypes with distinct clinicopathologic characteristics and mutation spectra were identified from the TCGA dataset and validated in an independent sample cohort of 184 EEC cases. Cluster II consisted of younger, obese patients with low-grade EEC but diminished survival. CTNNB1 exon 3 mutations were present in 87.0% (47/54) of Cluster II (P < .001) that exhibited a low overall mutation rate; this was statistically significantly associated with Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation (P < .001). High expression levels of CTNNB1 (P = .001), MYC (P = .01), and CCND1 (P = .01) were associated with poorer overall survival in low-grade EEC tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: CTNNB1 exon 3 mutations are likely a driver that characterize an aggressive subset of low-grade and low-stage EEC occurring in younger women.

Zhang J, Shen C, Wang L, et al.
Metformin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition in prostate cancer cells: involvement of the tumor suppressor miR30a and its target gene SOX4.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 452(3):746-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor metastasis is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity of prostate cancer (PCa) patients. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a critical role in cancer progression and metastasis. Recent evidence suggested that diabetic patients treated with metformin have lower PCa risk and better prognosis. This study was aimed to investigate the effects of metformin on EMT in PCa cells and the possible microRNA (miRNA)-based mechanisms. MiRNAs have been shown to regulate various processes of cancer metastasis. We herein showed that metformin significantly inhibits proliferation of Vcap and PC-3 cells, induces G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and inhibits invasiveness and motility capacity of Vcap cells. Metformin could inhibit TGF-β-induced EMT in Vcap cells, as manifested by inhibition of the increase of N-cadherin (p=0.013), Vimentin (p=0.002) and the decrease of E-cadherin (p=0.0023) and β-catenin (p=0.034) at mRNA and protein levels. Notably, we demonstrated significant upregulation of miR30a levels by metformin (P<0.05) and further experiments indicated that miR30a significantly inhibits proliferation and EMT process of Vcap cells. Interestingly, we identified that SOX4, a previously reported oncogenic transcriptional factor and modulator of EMT, is a direct target gene of miR30a. Finally, we screened the expression of miR30a and SOX4 in 84 PCa cases with radical prostatectomy. Of note, SOX4 overexpression is significantly associated with decreased levels of miR30a in PCa cases. In all, our study suggested that inhibition of EMT by metformin in PCa cells may involve upregulation of miR30a and downregulation of SOX4.

Robertson CL, Srivastava J, Siddiq A, et al.
Genetic deletion of AEG-1 prevents hepatocarcinogenesis.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(21):6184-93 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Activation of the oncogene AEG-1 (MTDH, LYRIC) has been implicated recently in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In mice, HCC can be initiated by exposure to the carcinogen DEN, which has been shown to rely upon activation of NF-κB in liver macrophages. Because AEG-1 is an essential component of NF-κB activation, we interrogated the susceptibility of mice lacking the AEG-1 gene to DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. AEG-1-deficient mice displayed resistance to DEN-induced HCC and lung metastasis. No difference was observed in the response to growth factor signaling or activation of AKT, ERK, and β-catenin, compared with wild-type control animals. However, AEG-1-deficient hepatocytes and macrophages exhibited a relative defect in NF-κB activation. Mechanistic investigations showed that IL6 production and STAT3 activation, two key mediators of HCC development, were also deficient along with other biologic and epigenetics findings in the tumor microenvironment, confirming that AEG-1 supports an NF-κB-mediated inflammatory state that drives HCC development. Overall, our findings offer in vivo proofs that AEG-1 is essential for NF-κB activation and hepatocarcinogenesis, and they reveal new roles for AEG-1 in shaping the tumor microenvironment for HCC development.

Zhou XM, Zhang H, Han X
Role of epithelial to mesenchymal transition proteins in gynecological cancers: pathological and therapeutic perspectives.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(10):9523-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gynecorelogic cancers like ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers are among the major threats to modern life, especially to female health. Like some other types of cancers, all of these gynecological cancers have found to be associated with the developmental stage epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). More specifically, the aberrant expression of major EMT markers, such as lower expressions of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin, and overexpressions of N-cadherin, beta-catenin, vimentin, and matrix metalloproteinases, have been reported in ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers. The transcription factors, such as Twist, Snail, Slug, and Zeb, which regulate these EMT mediators, are also reported to be overexpressed in gynecological cancers. In addition to the over/lower expression, the promoter methylation of some of these genes has been identified too. In the era of target-specific cancer therapeutics, some promising studies showed that targeting EMT markers might be an interesting and successful tool in future cancer therapy. In this study, we have reviewed the recent development in the research on the association of EMT markers with three major gynecological cancers in the perspectives of carcinogenesis and therapeutics.

Nakayama S, Sng N, Carretero J, et al.
β-catenin contributes to lung tumor development induced by EGFR mutations.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(20):5891-902 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/10/2015 Related Publications
The discovery of somatic mutations in EGFR and development of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have revolutionized treatment for lung cancer. However, resistance to TKIs emerges in almost all patients and currently no effective treatment is available. Here, we show that β-catenin is essential for development of EGFR-mutated lung cancers. β-Catenin was upregulated and activated in EGFR-mutated cells. Mutant EGFR preferentially bound to and tyrosine phosphorylated β-catenin, leading to an increase in β-catenin-mediated transactivation, particularly in cells harboring the gefitinib/erlotinib-resistant gatekeeper EGFR-T790M mutation. Pharmacologic inhibition of β-catenin suppressed EGFR-L858R-T790M mutated lung tumor growth, and genetic deletion of the β-catenin gene dramatically reduced lung tumor formation in EGFR-L858R-T790M transgenic mice. These data suggest that β-catenin plays an essential role in lung tumorigenesis and that targeting the β-catenin pathway may provide novel strategies to prevent lung cancer development or overcome resistance to EGFR TKIs.

Perez-Yepez EA, Ayala-Sumuano JT, Lezama R, Meza I
A novel β-catenin signaling pathway activated by IL-1β leads to the onset of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 354(1):164-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interleukin 1β has been associated with tumor development, invasiveness and metastasis in various types of cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this association have not been clearly elucidated. The present study is the first to show, in breast cancer cells, that an IL-1β/IL-1RI/β-catenin signaling pathway induces β-catenin accumulation due to GSK3β inactivation by Akt phosphorylation. Translocation to the nucleus of accumulated β-catenin and formation of the TCF/Lef/β-catenin complex induce sequential expression of c-MYC, CCDN1, SNAIL1 and MMP2, leading to up-regulation of proliferation, migration and invasion; all of the processes shown to be required, in cancerous cells, to initiate transition from a non-invading to an invasive phenotype.

Xie C, Pan Y, Hao F, et al.
C-Myc participates in β-catenin-mediated drug resistance in A549/DDP lung adenocarcinoma cells.
APMIS. 2014; 122(12):1251-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to investigate c-Myc and β-catenin-mediated drug resistance in A549/DDP lung adenocarcinoma cells. Cisplatin sensitivity was determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) toxicity assay. β-Catenin and c-Myc protein expression following cisplatin treatment were determined using western blotting and immunofluorescence. Flow cytometry was performed to detect cell cycle and apoptosis in A549, A549/DDP, and c-Myc small interfering RNA (siRNA)-transfected A549/DDP cells before and after treatment with different doses of cisplatin. The median inhibitory concentration (IC50 ) in cisplatin-treated A549 and A549/DDP cells was 5.769 ± 0.24 μmol/L and 28.373 ± 0.96 μmol/L, respectively; the cisplatin resistance of A549 cells was about five times that of A549/DDP cells. Endogenous β-catenin and c-Myc expression in A549/DDP cells were higher than that in A549 cells, and were upregulated in A549/DDP cells (p < 0.05) and downregulated in A549 cells after 48 h cisplatin treatment (p < 0.05). β-catenin localization transferred from membrane/cytoplasmic/nuclear to cytoplasmic/nuclear, and c-Myc localization transferred from cytoplasmic/nuclear to nuclear in both cell lines following cisplatin treatment. The rate of apoptosis increased in a dose-dependent manner with cisplatin. After 48-h transfection with c-myc siRNA, A549/DDP cells were blocked in the S phase, and G0/G1-phase cells increased. Simultaneously, the apoptotic rate was increased (p < 0.05) and the IC50 decreased significantly (p < 0.05). C-myc, the downstream target gene of β-catenin, plays an important role in regulating cisplatin resistance in A549/DDP cells. C-Myc siRNA improved the sensitivity of A549/DDP cells to cisplatin.

Ning G, Bijron JG, Yamamoto Y, et al.
The PAX2-null immunophenotype defines multiple lineages with common expression signatures in benign and neoplastic oviductal epithelium.
J Pathol. 2014; 234(4):478-87 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
The oviducts contain high-grade serous cancer (HGSC) precursors (serous tubal intraepithelial neoplasia or STINs), which are γ-H2AX(p) - and TP53 mutation-positive. Although they express wild-type p53, secretory cell outgrowths (SCOUTs) are associated with older age and serous cancer; moreover, both STINs and SCOUTs share a loss of PAX2 expression (PAX2(n) ). We evaluated PAX2 expression in proliferating adult and embryonic oviductal cells, normal mucosa, SCOUTs, Walthard cell nests (WCNs), STINs, and HGSCs, and the expression of genes chosen empirically or from SCOUT expression arrays. Clones generated in vitro from embryonic gynaecological tract and adult Fallopian tube were Krt7(p) /PAX2(n) /EZH2(p) and underwent ciliated (PAX2(n) /EZH2(n) /FOXJ1(p) ) and basal (Krt7(n) /EZH2(n) /Krt5(p) ) differentiation. Similarly, non-ciliated cells in normal mucosa were PAX2(p) but became PAX2(n) in multi-layered epithelium undergoing ciliated or basal (WCN) cell differentiation. PAX2(n) SCOUTs fell into two groups: type 1 were secretory or secretory/ciliated with a 'tubal' phenotype and were ALDH1(n) and β-catenin(mem) (membraneous only). Type 2 displayed a columnar to pseudostratified (endometrioid) phenotype, with an EZH2(p) , ALDH1(p) , β-catenin(nc) (nuclear and cytoplasmic), stathmin(p) , LEF1(p) , RCN1(p) , and RUNX2(p) expression signature. STINs and HGSCs shared the type 1 immunophenotype of PAX2(n) , ALDH1(n) , β-catenin(mem) , but highly expressed EZH2(p) , LEF1(p) , RCN1(p) , and stathmin(p) . This study, for the first time, links PAX2(n) with proliferating fetal and adult oviductal cells undergoing basal and ciliated differentiation and shows that this expression state is maintained in SCOUTs, STINs, and HGSCs. All three entities can demonstrate a consistent perturbation of genes involved in potential tumour suppressor gene silencing (EZH2), transcriptional regulation (LEF1), regulation of differentiation (RUNX2), calcium binding (RCN1), and oncogenesis (stathmin). This shared expression signature between benign and neoplastic entities links normal progenitor cell expansion to abnormal and neoplastic outgrowth in the oviduct and exposes a common pathway that could be a target for early prevention.

Liszka L
Ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas usually retained SMAD4 and p53 protein status as well as expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers and cell cycle regulators at the stage of liver metastasis.
Pol J Pathol. 2014; 65(2):100-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
There are limited data on the biology of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The aim of the present study was to compare the expression of immunohistochemical markers that may be involved in the development of metastatic disease in primary PDAC and in synchronous liver metastatic tissues. Thirty-two stains (corresponding to proteins encoded by 31 genes: SMAD4, TP53, ACTA2, CDH1, CDKN1A, CLDN1, CLDN4, CLDN7, CTNNB1, EGFR, ERBB2, FN1, KRT19, MAPK1/MAPK3, MAPK14, MKI67, MMP2, MMP9, MUC1 (3 antibodies), MUC5AC, MUC6, MTOR, MYC, NES, PTGS2, RPS6, RPS6KB1, TGFB1, TGFBR1, VIM) were evaluated using tissue microarray of 26 pairs of primary PDACs and their liver metastases. There were no significant differences in expression levels of examined proteins between primary and secondary lesions. In particular, metastatic PDAC retained the primary tumour's SMAD4 protein status in all and p53 protein status in all but one case. This surprising homogeneity also involved expression levels of markers of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition as well as cell cycle regulators studied. In conclusion, the biological profiles of primary PDACs and their liver metastases seemed to be similar. Molecular alterations of PDAC related to a set of immunohistochemical markers examined in the present study were already present at the stage of localized disease.

Tian J, He H, Lei G
Wnt/β-catenin pathway in bone cancers.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(10):9439-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt signaling pathway regulates some of the crucial aspects of cellular processes. The beta-catenin dependent Wnt signaling (Wnt/β-catenin) pathway controls the expression of key developmental genes, and acts as an intracellular signal transducer. The association of Wnt/β-catenin pathway is often reported with different cancers. In this study, we have reviewed the association of Wnt/β-catenin pathway with bone cancers, focusing on carcinogenesis and therapeutic aspects. Wnt/β-catenin pathway is a highly complex and unique signaling pathway, which has ability to regulate gene expression, cell invasion, migration, proliferation, and differentiation for the initiation and progression of bone cancers, especially osteosarcoma. Association of Wnt/β-catenin pathway with chondrosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma and chondroma is also documented. Recently, targeting Wnt/β-catenin pathway has gained significant interests as a potential therapeutic application for the treatment of bone cancers. Small RNA technology to knockdown aberrant Wnt/β-catenin or inhibition of β-catenin expression by natural component has shown promising effects against bone cancers. Advances in understanding the mechanisms of Wnt signaling and new technologies have facilitated the discovery of agents that can target and regulate Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and these may provide a basement for the innovative therapeutic approaches in the treatment of bone cancers.

Liu J, Fukunaga-Kalabis M, Li L, Herlyn M
Developmental pathways activated in melanocytes and melanoma.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2014; 563:13-21 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Cutaneous malignant melanomas originate primarily within epidermal melanocytic cells. Melanoma cells share many characteristics with melanocyte precursors, suggesting that melanoma cells utilize the developmental programs of their normal counterpart for their own progression. The pigmentation system provides an advantageous model to assess survival pathway interactions in the melanocytic lineage, as genetic alterations controlling melanocyte development can be easily detectable by coat color phenotype that do not affect the viability of an animal. By integrating combinatorial gene knockout approaches, cell-based assays and immunohistochemical observations, recent studies have illustrated several genes and pathways that play important roles both in melanocyte specification and maintenance and in melanoma formation and progression. We are reviewing those genes and pathways to understand the connection between normal and cancerous development and to reveal therapeutic potential of targeting developmental pathways for melanoma therapy.

Zhao Y, Yang Y, Trovik J, et al.
A novel wnt regulatory axis in endometrioid endometrial cancer.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(18):5103-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Protocadherin 10 (PCDH10) is inactivated often by promoter hypermethylation in various human tumors, but its possible functional role as a tumor suppressor gene is not established. In this study, we identify PCDH10 as a novel Wnt pathway regulatory element in endometrioid endometrial carcinoma (EEC). PCDH10 was downregulated in EEC tumor cells by aberrant methylation of its promoter. Restoring PCDH10 levels suppressed cell growth and triggered apoptosis in EEC cells and tumor xenografts. Gene expression profiling revealed as part of the transcriptomic changes induced by PCDH10 a reduction in levels of MALAT1, a long noncoding RNA, that mediated tumor suppression functions of PCDH10 in EEC cells. We found that MALAT1 transcription was regulated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling via TCF promoter binding and PCDH10 decreased MALAT1 by modulating this pathway. Clinically, MALAT1 expression was associated with multiple parameters in patients with EEC. Taken together, our findings establish a novel PCDH10-Wnt/β-catenin-MALAT1 regulatory axis that contributes to EEC development. Cancer Res; 74(18); 5103-17. ©2014 AACR.

Ross JS, Wang K, Rand JV, et al.
Next-generation sequencing of adrenocortical carcinoma reveals new routes to targeted therapies.
J Clin Pathol. 2014; 67(11):968-73 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
AIMS: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) carries a poor prognosis and current systemic cytotoxic therapies result in only modest improvement in overall survival. In this retrospective study, we performed a comprehensive genomic profiling of 29 consecutive ACC samples to identify potential targets of therapy not currently searched for in routine clinical practice.
METHODS: DNA from 29 ACC was sequenced to high, uniform coverage (Illumina HiSeq) and analysed for genomic alterations (GAs).
RESULTS: At least one GA was found in 22 (76%) ACC (mean 2.6 alterations per ACC). The most frequent GAs were in TP53 (34%), NF1 (14%), CDKN2A (14%), MEN1 (14%), CTNNB1 (10%) and ATM (10%). APC, CCND2, CDK4, DAXX, DNMT3A, KDM5C, LRP1B, MSH2 and RB1 were each altered in two cases (7%) and EGFR, ERBB4, KRAS, MDM2, NRAS, PDGFRB, PIK3CA, PTEN and PTCH1 were each altered in a single case (3%). In 17 (59%) of ACC, at least one GA was associated with an available therapeutic or a mechanism-based clinical trial.
CONCLUSIONS: Next-generation sequencing can discover targets of therapy for relapsed and metastatic ACC and shows promise to improve outcomes for this aggressive form of cancer.

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