Gene Summary

Gene:WNT2; Wnt family member 2
Aliases: IRP, INT1L1
Summary:This gene is a member of the WNT gene family. The WNT gene family consists of structurally related genes which encode secreted signaling proteins. These proteins have been implicated in oncogenesis and in several developmental processes, including regulation of cell fate and patterning during embryogenesis. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been identified for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein Wnt-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


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 (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 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.

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Mutation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • siRNA
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Up-Regulation
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Messenger RNA
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Lung Cancer
  • Gene Amplification
  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Cancer
  • beta Catenin
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Cancer DNA
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Promoter Regions
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Trans-Activators
  • Chromosome 7
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • Cancer RNA
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cell Proliferation
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: WNT2 (cancer-related)

Trevisson E, Morbidoni V, Forzan M, et al.
The Arg1038Gly missense variant in the NF1 gene causes a mild phenotype without neurofibromas.
Mol Genet Genomic Med. 2019; 7(5):e616 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant condition caused by inactivating mutations of the NF1 gene. The wide allelic heterogeneity of this condition, with more than 3,000 pathogenic variants reported so far, is paralleled by its high clinical variability, which is observed even within the same family. The definition of genotype-phenotype correlations has been hampered by the complexity of the NF1 gene and, although a few exceptions have been recognized, the clinical course remains unpredictable in most patients.
METHODS: Sequencing of NF1 in patients with cafè-au-lait spots identified the c.3112A>G variant. RNA analysis and a minigene assay were employed to investigate splicing.
RESULTS: Here we report a novel genotype-phenotype correlation in NF1: the identification of the missense variant NM_000267.3:c.3112A>G p.(Arg1038Gly) in seven individuals from two unrelated families with a mild phenotype. All the patients manifest cafè-au-lait spots without neurofibromas or other NF1-associated complications, and Noonan syndrome features in most cases. The missense variant was not previously reported in available databases, segregates with the phenotype and involves a highly conserved residue. Both a minigene assay and patient's RNA analysis excluded an effect on splicing.
CONCLUSION: Our data support the correlation of the p.Arg1038Gly missense substitution with the cutaneous phenotype without neurofibromas or other complications. This finding may have relevant implications for patients and genetic counseling, but also to get insights into the function of neurofibromin.

Xiu DH, Liu GF, Yu SN, et al.
Long non-coding RNA LINC00968 attenuates drug resistance of breast cancer cells through inhibiting the Wnt2/β-catenin signaling pathway by regulating WNT2.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019; 38(1):94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is one the most common cancers, making it the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), with tightly regulated expression patterns, also serve as tumor suppressor during tumorigenesis. The present study aimed to elucidate the role of LINC00968 in breast cancer via WNT2-mediated Wnt2/β-catenin signaling pathway.
METHODS: Breast cancer chip GSE26910 was utilized to identify differential expression in LINC00968 and WNT2. The possible relationship among LINC00968, transcriptional repressor HEY and WNT2 was analyzed and then verified. Effects of LINC00968 on activation of the Wnt2/β-catenin signaling pathway was also tested. Drug resistance, colony formation, cell migration, invasion ability and cell apoptosis after transfection were also determined. Furthermore, tumor xenograft in nude mice was performed to test tumor growth and weight in vivo.
RESULTS: WNT2 expression exhibited at a high level, whereas LINC00968 at a low expression in breast cancer which was also associated with poor prognosis in patients. LINC00968 targeted and negatively regulated WNT2 potentially via HEY1. Either overexpressed LINC00968 or silenced inhibited activation of the Wnt2/β-catenin signaling pathway, thereby reducing drug resistance, decreasing colony formation ability, as well as suppressing migration and invasion abilities of breast cancer cells in addition to inducing apoptosis. Lastly, in vivo experiment suggested that LINC00968 overexpression also suppressed transplanted tumor growth in nude mice.
CONCLUSION: Collectively, overexpressed LINC00968 contributes to reduced drug resistance in breast cancer cells by inhibiting the activation of the Wnt2/β-catenin signaling pathway through silencing WNT2. This study offers a new target for the development of breast cancer treatment.

Chen PH, Liu AJ, Ho KH, et al.
microRNA-199a/b-5p enhance imatinib efficacy via repressing WNT2 signaling-mediated protective autophagy in imatinib-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia cells.
Chem Biol Interact. 2018; 291:144-151 [PubMed] Related Publications
Imatinib (IM) is a first-line therapeutic drug for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a hematological disease. Mutations in the BCR-ABL domain increase formation of IM resistance in CML. However, not all patients are BCR-ABL domain-mutant dependent. Investigating non-mutant mechanisms in the development of acquired IM resistance is a critical issue. We explored the mechanisms which influence IM efficacy and resistance in CML. Higher protective autophagy was identified in IM-resistant K562 (K562R) cells. Inhibition of autophagy by the inhibitors, chloroquine and 3-methyladenine, enhanced IM's efficacy in K562R cells. In addition, microRNA (miR)-199a/b-5p were downregulated in K562R cells compared to parent cells. Overexpression of miR-199a/b-5p reduced autophagy and induced cell apoptosis, resulting in enhanced IM's efficacy in K562R cells. Moreover, expression levels of the Wingless-type MMTV integration site family member 2 (WNT2), a positive regulator of autophagy, were significantly higher in K562R cells, and it was validated as a direct target gene of miR-199a/b-5p. Overexpressions of miR-199a/b-5p inhibited WNT2 downstream signaling. Furthermore, overexpression and knockdown of WNT2 influenced autophagy formation and CML drug sensitivity to IM. Overexpression of WNT2 could also reverse miR-199a/b-5p-enhanced IM efficacy in K562R cells. These results emphasized that miR-199a/b-5p inhibited autophagy via repressing WNT2 signaling and might provide novel therapeutic strategies for future IM-resistant CML therapy and drug development.

Sidarovich V, De Mariano M, Aveic S, et al.
A High-Content Screening of Anticancer Compounds Suggests the Multiple Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Ponatinib for Repurposing in Neuroblastoma Therapy.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2018; 17(7):1405-1415 [PubMed] Related Publications
Novel druggable targets have been discovered in neuroblastoma (NB), paving the way for more effective treatments. However, children with high-risk NB still show high mortality rates prompting for a search of novel therapeutic options. Here, we aimed at repurposing FDA-approved drugs for NB treatment by performing a high-content screening of a 349 anticancer compounds library. In the primary screening, we employed three NB cell lines, grown as three-dimensional (3D) multicellular spheroids, which were treated with 10 μmol/L of the library compounds for 72 hours. The viability of 3D spheroids was evaluated using a high-content imaging approach, resulting in a primary hit list of 193 compounds. We selected 60 FDA-approved molecules and prioritized drugs with multi-target activity, discarding those already in use for NB treatment or enrolled in NB clinical trials. Hence, 20 drugs were further tested for their efficacy in inhibiting NB cell viability, both in two-dimensional and 3D models. Dose-response curves were then supplemented with the data on side effects, therapeutic index, and molecular targets, suggesting two multiple tyrosine kinase inhibitors, ponatinib and axitinib, as promising candidates for repositioning in NB. Indeed, both drugs showed induction of cell-cycle block and apoptosis, as well as inhibition of colony formation. However, only ponatinib consistently affected migration and inhibited invasion of NB cells. Finally, ponatinib also proved effective inhibition of tumor growth in orthotopic NB mice, providing the rationale for its repurposing in NB therapy.

Imperatore V, Pinto AM, Gelli E, et al.
Parent-of-origin effect of hypomorphic pathogenic variants and somatic mosaicism impact on phenotypic expression of retinoblastoma.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2018; 26(7):1026-1037 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in children. Numerous families have been described displaying reduced penetrance and expressivity. An extensive molecular characterization of seven families led us to characterize the two main mechanisms impacting on phenotypic expression, as follows: (i) mosaicism of amorphic pathogenic variants; and (ii) parent-of-origin-effect of hypomorphic pathogenic variants. Somatic mosaicism for RB1 splicing variants (c.1960+5G>C and c.2106+2T>C), leading to a complete loss of function was demonstrated by high-depth NGS in two families. In both cases, the healthy carrier parent (one with retinoma) showed a variant frequency lower than that expected for a heterozygous individual, indicating a 56-60% mosaicism level. Previous evidences of a ~3-fold excess of RB1 maternal canonical transcript led us to hypothesize that this differential allelic expression could influence phenotypic outcome in families at risk for RB onset. Accordingly, in five families, we identified a higher tumor risk associated with paternally inherited hypomorphic pathogenic variants, namely a deletion resulting in the loss of 37 amino acids at the N-terminus (c.608-16_608del), an exonic substitution with a "leaky" splicing effect (c.1331A>G), a partially deleterious substitution (c.1981C>T) and a truncating C-terminal variant (c.2663+2T>C). The identification of these mechanisms changes the genetic/prenatal counseling and the clinical management of families, indicating a higher recurrence risk when the hypomorphic pathogenic variant is inherited from the father, and suggesting the need for second tumor surveillance in unaffected carriers at risk of developing adult-onset cancer such as osteosarcoma or leiomyosarcoma.

Pourcelot E, Lénon M, Charbonnier P, et al.
The iron regulatory proteins are defective in repressing translation via exogenous 5' iron responsive elements despite their relative abundance in leukemic cellular models.
Metallomics. 2018; 10(4):639-649 [PubMed] Related Publications
In animal cells the specific translational control of proteins contributing to iron homeostasis is mediated by the interaction between the Iron Regulatory Proteins (IRP1 and IRP2) and the Iron Responsive Elements (IRE) located in the untranslated regions (UTR) of regulated messengers, such as those encoding ferritin or the transferrin receptor. The absolute concentrations of the components of this regulatory system in hematopoietic cells and the ability of the endogenous IRP to regulate exogenous IRE have been measured. The IRP concentration is in the low μM (10-6 M) range, whereas the most abundant IRE-containing messenger RNA (mRNA), i.e. those of the ferritin subunits, do not exceed 100 nM (10-7 M). Most other IRP mRNA targets are around or below 1 nM. The distribution of the mRNA belonging to the cellular iron network is similar in human leukemic cell lines and in normal cord blood progenitors, with differences among the cellular models only associated with their different propensities to synthesize hemoglobin. Thus, the IRP regulator is in large excess over its presently identified regulated mRNA targets. Yet, despite this excess, endogenous IRP poorly represses translation of transfected luciferase cDNA engineered with a series of IRE sequences in the 5' UTR. The cellular concentrations of the central hubs of the mammalian translational iron network will have to be included in the description of the proliferative phenotype of leukemic cells and in assessing any therapeutic action targeting iron provision.

Fujimoto H, Saito Y, Ohuchida K, et al.
Deregulated Mucosal Immune Surveillance through Gut-Associated Regulatory T Cells and PD-1
J Immunol. 2018; 200(9):3291-3303 [PubMed] Related Publications
Disturbed balance between immune surveillance and tolerance may lead to poor clinical outcomes in some malignancies. In paired analyses of adenocarcinoma and normal mucosa from 142 patients, we found a significant increase of the CD4/CD8 ratio and accumulation of regulatory T cells (Tregs) within the adenocarcinoma. The increased frequency of Tregs correlated with the local infiltration and extension of the tumor. There was concurrent maturation arrest, upregulation of programmed death-1 expression, and functional impairment in CD8

Pang Y, Gupta G, Yang C, et al.
A novel splicing site IRP1 somatic mutation in a patient with pheochromocytoma and JAK2
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):286 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The role of the hypoxia signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL)-polycythemia syndrome has been elucidated. Novel somatic mutations in hypoxia-inducible factor type 2A (HIF2A) and germline mutations in prolyl hydroxylase type 1 and type 2 (PHD1 and PHD2) have been identified to cause upregulation of the hypoxia signaling pathway and its target genes including erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EPOR). However, in a minority of patients presenting with this syndrome, the genetics and molecular pathogenesis remain unexplained. The aim of the present study was to uncover novel genetic causes of PPGL-polycythemia syndrome.
CASE PRESENTATION: A female presented with a history of JAK2
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report which provides direct molecular genetic evidence of association between a somatic IRP1 loss-of-function mutation and PHEO and secondary polycythemia. In patients diagnosed with PHEO/PGL and polycythemia with negative genetic testing for mutations in HIF2A, PHD1/2, and VHL, IRP1 should be considered as a candidate gene.

Bortolozzi R, Bresolin S, Rampazzo E, et al.
AKR1C enzymes sustain therapy resistance in paediatric T-ALL.
Br J Cancer. 2018; 118(7):985-994 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Despite chemotherapy intensification, a subgroup of high-risk paediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) patients still experience treatment failure. In this context, we hypothesised that therapy resistance in T-ALL might involve aldo-keto reductase 1C (AKR1C) enzymes as previously reported for solid tumors.
METHODS: Expression of NRF2-AKR1C signaling components has been analysed in paediatric T-ALL samples endowed with different treatment outcomes as well as in patient-derived xenografts of T-ALL. The effects of AKR1C enzyme modulation has been investigated in T-ALL cell lines and primary cultures by combining AKR1C inhibition, overexpression, and gene silencing approaches.
RESULTS: We show that T-ALL cells overexpress AKR1C1-3 enzymes in therapy-resistant patients. We report that AKR1C1-3 enzymes play a role in the response to vincristine (VCR) treatment, also ex vivo in patient-derived xenografts. Moreover, we demonstrate that the modulation of AKR1C1-3 levels is sufficient to sensitise T-ALL cells to VCR. Finally, we show that T-ALL chemotherapeutics induce overactivation of AKR1C enzymes independent of therapy resistance, thus establishing a potential resistance loop during T-ALL combination treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Here, we demonstrate that expression and activity of AKR1C enzymes correlate with response to chemotherapeutics in T-ALL, posing AKR1C1-3 as potential targets for combination treatments during T-ALL therapy.

Zampini M, Tregnago C, Bisio V, et al.
Epigenetic heterogeneity affects the risk of relapse in children with t(8;21)RUNX1-RUNX1T1-rearranged AML.
Leukemia. 2018; 32(5):1124-1134 [PubMed] Related Publications
The somatic translocation t(8;21)(q22;q22)/RUNX1-RUNX1T1 is one of the most frequent rearrangements found in children with standard-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Despite the favorable prognostic role of this aberration, we recently observed a higher than expected frequency of relapse. Here, we employed an integrated high-throughput approach aimed at identifying new biological features predicting relapse among 34 t(8;21)-rearranged patients. We found that the DNA methylation status of patients who suffered from relapse was peculiarly different from that of children maintaining complete remission. The epigenetic signature, made up of 337 differentially methylated regions, was then integrated with gene and protein expression profiles, leading to a network, where cell-to-cell adhesion and cell-motility pathways were found to be aberrantly activated in relapsed patients. We identified most of these factors as RUNX1-RUNX1T1 targets, with Ras Homolog Family Member (RHOB) overexpression being the core of this network. We documented how RHOB re-organized the actin cytoskeleton through its downstream ROCK-LIMK-COFILIN axis: this increases blast adhesion by stress fiber formation, and reduces mitochondrial apoptotic cell death after chemotherapy treatment. Altogether, our data show an epigenetic heterogeneity within t(8;21)-rearranged AML patients at diagnosis able to influence the program of the chimeric transcript, promoting blast re-emergence and progression to relapse.

Jiang H, Du J, Gu J, et al.
A 65‑gene signature for prognostic prediction in colon adenocarcinoma.
Int J Mol Med. 2018; 41(4):2021-2027 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aim of the present study was to examine the molecular factors associated with the prognosis of colon cancer. Gene expression datasets were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Gene Expression Omnibus databases to screen differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between colon cancer samples and normal samples. Survival‑related genes were selected from the DEGs using the Cox regression method. A co‑expression network of survival‑related genes was then constructed, and functional clusters were extracted from this network. The significantly enriched functions and pathways of the genes in the network were identified. Using Bayesian discriminant analysis, a prognostic prediction system was established to distinguish the positive from negative prognostic samples. The discrimination efficacy of the system was validated in the GSE17538 dataset using Kaplan‑Meier survival analysis. A total of 636 and 1,892 DEGs between the colon cancer samples and normal samples were screened from the TCGA and GSE44861 dataset, respectively. There were 155 survival‑related genes selected. The co‑expression network of survival‑related genes included 138 genes, 534 lines (connections) and five functional clusters, including the signaling pathway, cellular response to cAMP, and immune system process functional clusters. The molecular function, cellular components and biological processes were the significantly enriched functions. The peroxisome proliferator‑activated receptor signaling pathway, Wnt signaling pathway, B cell receptor signaling pathway, and cytokine‑cytokine receptor interactions were the significant pathways. A prognostic prediction system based on a 65‑gene signature was established using this co‑expression network. Its discriminatory effect was validated in the TCGA dataset (P=3.56e‑12) and the GSE17538 dataset (P=1.67e‑6). The 65‑gene signature included kallikrein‑related peptidase 6 (KLK6), collagen type XI α1 (COL11A1), cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, wingless‑type MMTV integration site family member 2 (WNT2) and keratin 6B. In conclusion, a 65‑gene signature was screened in the present study, which showed a prognostic prediction effect in colon adenocarcinoma. KLK6, COL11A1, and WNT2 may be suitable prognostic predictors for colon adenocarcinoma.

Koczkowska M, Chen Y, Callens T, et al.
Genotype-Phenotype Correlation in NF1: Evidence for a More Severe Phenotype Associated with Missense Mutations Affecting NF1 Codons 844-848.
Am J Hum Genet. 2018; 102(1):69-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a common genetic disorder with a birth incidence of 1:2,000-3,000, is characterized by a highly variable clinical presentation. To date, only two clinically relevant intragenic genotype-phenotype correlations have been reported for NF1 missense mutations affecting p.Arg1809 and a single amino acid deletion p.Met922del. Both variants predispose to a distinct mild NF1 phenotype with neither externally visible cutaneous/plexiform neurofibromas nor other tumors. Here, we report 162 individuals (129 unrelated probands and 33 affected relatives) heterozygous for a constitutional missense mutation affecting one of five neighboring NF1 codons-Leu844, Cys845, Ala846, Leu847, and Gly848-located in the cysteine-serine-rich domain (CSRD). Collectively, these recurrent missense mutations affect ∼0.8% of unrelated NF1 mutation-positive probands in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) cohort. Major superficial plexiform neurofibromas and symptomatic spinal neurofibromas were more prevalent in these individuals compared with classic NF1-affected cohorts (both p < 0.0001). Nearly half of the individuals had symptomatic or asymptomatic optic pathway gliomas and/or skeletal abnormalities. Additionally, variants in this region seem to confer a high predisposition to develop malignancies compared with the general NF1-affected population (p = 0.0061). Our results demonstrate that these NF1 missense mutations, although located outside the GAP-related domain, may be an important risk factor for a severe presentation. A genotype-phenotype correlation at the NF1 region 844-848 exists and will be valuable in the management and genetic counseling of a significant number of individuals.

Qi B, Wang Y, Chen ZJ, et al.
Down-regulation of miR-30a-3p/5p promotes esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cell proliferation by activating the Wnt signaling pathway.
World J Gastroenterol. 2017; 23(45):7965-7977 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the potential role of microRNA-30a (miR-30a) in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
METHODS: Expression of miR-30a-3p/5p was analyzed using microarray data and fresh ESCC tissue samples. Both
RESULTS: Low expression of miR-30a-3p/5p was closely associated with advanced ESCC progression and poor prognosis of patients with ESCC. Knock-down of miR-30a-3p/5p promoted ESCC cell proliferation. Increased miR-30a-3p/5p expression inhibited the Wnt signaling pathway by targeting Wnt2 and Fzd2.
CONCLUSION: Down-regulation of miR-30a-3p/5p promotes ESCC cell proliferation by activating the Wnt signaling pathway through inhibition of Wnt2 and Fzd2.

Wang Q, Liu H, Wang Q, et al.
Involvement of c-Fos in cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in osteosarcoma cells accompanied by altered expression of Wnt2 and Fzd9.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(6):e0180558 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Osteosarcoma (OS) is an aggressive bone tumor, and proto-oncogene c-Fos is involved in this lethal disease. However, the role and molecular mechanism of c-Fos in the development and progression of OS remain enigmatic. As one of the Wnt family members, Wnt2 is closely associated with the development of several malignant tumors. In the present study, the expression of c-Fos, Wnt2, and its receptor Fzd9 in human OS tissues, MG63 OS cell line, and human osteoblast hFOB 1.19 cell line was detected by Western blot analysis, immunohistochemical staining, or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The role of c-Fos in the OS was clarified by treating MG63 cells with small interfering RNA to knockdown c-Fos. Then, cell migration and invasion were assayed by transwell assays and wound healing assay; cell proliferation was assayed by MTS method and 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine DNA proliferation in vitro detection; cell apoptosis was assayed by flow cytometric method. Co-immunoprecipitation kit was used to confirm the relationship between c-Fos and Wnt2/Fzd9. We found that the expression of c-Fos, Wnt2, and Fzd9 protein was distinctly higher in human OS tissues than that in the adjacent non-cancerous tissues, and their expression in the MG63 OS cell line was markedly increased compared with that in the human osteoblast hFOB 1.19 cell line. Knockdown of c-Fos inhibited the proliferation, migration, and invasion of MG63 cells, and promoted the apoptosis of MG63 cells. Moreover, knockdown of c-Fos inhibited the expression of Wnt2 and Fzd9 mRNA and protein. Our data enforced the evidence that knockdown of c-Fos inhibited cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, and promoted the apoptosis of OS cells accompanied by altered expression of Wnt2 and Fzd9. These findings offer new clues for OS development and progression, and c-Fos may be a potential therapeutic target for OS.

Yuan H, Yu S, Cui Y, et al.
Knockdown of mediator subunit Med19 suppresses bladder cancer cell proliferation and migration by downregulating Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway.
J Cell Mol Med. 2017; 21(12):3254-3263 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mediator complex subunit 19 (Med19), a RNA polymerase II-embedded coactivator, is reported to be involved in bladder cancer (BCa) progression, but its functional contribution to this process is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the effects of Med19 on malignant behaviours of BCa, as well as to elucidate the possible mechanisms. Med19 expression in 15 BCa tissues was significantly higher than adjacent paired normal tissues using real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. Immunohistochemical staining of 167 paraffin-embedded BCa tissues was performed, and the results showed that high Med19 protein level was positively correlated with clinical stages and histopathological grade. Med19 was knocked down in BCa cells using short-hairpin RNA. Functional assays showed that knocking-down of Med19 can suppress cell proliferation and migration in T24, UM-UC3 cells and 5637 in vitro, and inhibited BCa tumour growth in vivo. TOP/FOPflash reporter assay revealed that Med19 knockdown decreased the activity of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, and the target genes of Wnt/β-catenin pathway were down-regulated, including Wnt2, β-catenin, Cyclin-D1 and MMP-9. However, protein levels of Gsk3β and E-cadherin were elevated. Our data suggest that Med19 expression correlates with aggressive characteristics of BCa and Med19 knockdown suppresses the proliferation and migration of BCa cells through down-regulating the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, thereby highlighting Med19 as a potential therapeutic target for BCa treatment.

Kramer N, Schmöllerl J, Unger C, et al.
Autocrine WNT2 signaling in fibroblasts promotes colorectal cancer progression.
Oncogene. 2017; 36(39):5460-5472 [PubMed] Related Publications
The canonical WNT signaling pathway is crucial for intestinal stem cell renewal and aberrant WNT signaling is an early event in colorectal cancer (CRC) development. Here, we show for the first time that WNT2 is one of the most significantly induced genes in CRC stroma as compared to normal stroma. The impact of stromal WNT2 on carcinoma formation or progression was not addressed so far. Canonical WNT/β-catenin signaling was assessed using a 7TGP-reporter construct. Furthermore, effects of WNT2 on fibroblast migration and invasion were determined using siRNA-mediated gene silencing. Tumor cell invasion was studied using organotypic raft cultures and in vivo significance was assessed via a xenograft mouse model. We identified cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) as the main source of WNT2. CAF-derived WNT2 activated canonical signaling in adenomatous polyposis coli/β-catenin wild-type colon cancer cells in a paracrine fashion, whereas no hyperactivation was detectable in cell lines harboring mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli/β-catenin pathway. Furthermore, WNT2 activated autocrine canonical WNT signaling in primary fibroblasts, which was associated with a pro-migratory and pro-invasive phenotype. We identified FZD8 as the putative WNT2 receptor in CAFs. Three-dimensional organotypic co-culture assays revealed that WNT2-mediated fibroblast motility and extracellular matrix remodeling enhanced cancer cell invasion of cell lines even harboring mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli/β-catenin pathway. Thus, suggesting a tumor-promoting influence on a broad range of CRC. In line, WNT2 also promotes tumor growth, invasion and metastasis in vivo. Moreover, high WNT2 expression is associated with poor prognosis in human CRC. The identification of the pro-malignant function of stromal derived WNT2 in CRC classifies WNT2 and its receptor as promising stromal targets to confine cancer progression in combination with conventional or targeted therapies.

Viel A, Bruselles A, Meccia E, et al.
A Specific Mutational Signature Associated with DNA 8-Oxoguanine Persistence in MUTYH-defective Colorectal Cancer.
EBioMedicine. 2017; 20:39-49 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
8-Oxoguanine, a common mutagenic DNA lesion, generates G:C>T:A transversions via mispairing with adenine during DNA replication. When operating normally, the MUTYH DNA glycosylase prevents 8-oxoguanine-related mutagenesis by excising the incorporated adenine. Biallelic MUTYH mutations impair this enzymatic function and are associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) in MUTYH-Associated Polyposis (MAP) syndrome. Here, we perform whole-exome sequencing that reveals a modest mutator phenotype in MAP CRCs compared to sporadic CRC stem cell lines or bulk tumours. The excess G:C>T:A transversion mutations in MAP CRCs exhibits a novel mutational signature, termed Signature 36, with a strong sequence dependence. The MUTYH mutational signature reflecting persistent 8-oxoG:A mismatches occurs frequently in the APC, KRAS, PIK3CA, FAT4, TP53, FAT1, AMER1, KDM6A, SMAD4 and SMAD2 genes that are associated with CRC. The occurrence of Signature 36 in other types of human cancer indicates that DNA 8-oxoguanine-related mutations might contribute to the development of cancer in other organs.

Li QM, Zhang FQ, Li YF, et al.
Influence of polymorphisms in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes on hepatocellular carcinoma risk in a Chinese Han population.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2017; 96(12):e6127 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays a vital role in initiating and sustaining hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, few studies have investigated polymorphisms in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway genes in the Chinese Han population. The aim of the present retrospective study was to investigate the correlations between polymorphisms of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway genes (CTNNB1 and WNT2) and HCC susceptibility, development, and progression.Twenty tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms were chosen from HapMap data and genotyped in 320 patients with HCC, 320 chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected patients without HCC (N-HCC, including 95 liver cirrhosis, 164 chronic hepatitis B, and 61 asymptomatic HBV carriers), and 320 healthy controls. Associations between polymorphisms in the 2 Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway genes (CTNNB1 and WNT2) and HCC susceptibility, development, and progression were investigated.Genotype AA (P = 0.002, odds ratio [OR] = 2.524) and allele A (P = 0.0003, OR = 1.613) of the WNT2 rs4730775 polymorphism were associated with HCC susceptibility compared with healthy controls. Genotype GA (P = 0.001, OR = 0.567) and allele A (P = 0.002, OR = 0.652) of rs3864004, and genotype AG (P = 0.0004, OR = 0.495) and allele G (P = 0.001, OR = 0.596) of rs11564475 in the CTNNB1 gene were correlated with HCC compared with N-HCC patients. These findings were consistent in dominant and recessive models. Multidimensionality reduction analysis revealed that interactions among rs3864004, rs11564475, and rs4730775 were significantly associated with HCC compared with N-HCC patients. The polymorphism rs4135385 of CTNNB1 genotype GA was associated with a higher risk for Stage III + IV HCC (modified Union for International Cancer Control) (P = 0.001, OR = 2.238).Genetic polymorphisms in the WNT2 and CTNNB1 genes were closely associated with HCC risk and progression in a Chinese Han population.

Zhu XB, Zhang ZC, Han GS, et al.
Overexpression of miR‑214 promotes the progression of human osteosarcoma by regulating the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway.
Mol Med Rep. 2017; 15(4):1884-1892 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aberrant expression of microRNA (miR)‑214 contributes to the regulation of normal and cancer cell biology, and is associated with human malignancies, however, it can operate in a contradictory manner. The role of miR‑214 in osteosarcoma remains to be fully elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of miR‑214 on osteosarcoma progression and tumor cell proliferation, and examine the molecular mechanism underlying osteosarcoma. The level of miR‑214 was determined using reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT‑qPCR) analysis in osteosarcoma and matched paracancerous tissues, and in human osteosarcoma cancer cell lines. The roles of miR‑214 in cell proliferation, survival and cell cycle were analyzed using miR‑214 lentivirus (LV‑miR‑214)‑infected osteosarcoma cells. In addition, the downstream target proteins in the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway were evaluated using western blot analysis in the LV‑miR‑214‑infected cells. The LV‑miR‑214‑infected MG63 cells were also treated with exogenous β‑catenin for 24, 48 and 72 h, respectively, following which the expression of β‑catenin was measured using western blot analysis and survival was determined using a 3‑(4,5‑cimethylthiazol‑2‑yl)‑2,5‑diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The results of the RT‑qPCR analysis showed that the expression level of miR‑214 was significantly higher in the osteosarcoma tissues, compared with that in the matched paracancerous tissues, and the same was observed in the osteosarcoma cell lines. The MG63, Saos‑2 and U2OS cells were infected with the hsa‑mir‑214 lentivirus for 48 h, and the levels of miR‑214 were significantly upregulated in the human osteosarcoma cancer cells. The overexpression of miR‑214 in the MG‑63 and Saos‑2 cells promoted cell growth, and treatment of the cells with specific antisense‑microRNA oligonucleotides (AMOs) for miR‑214 for indicated durations reversed the effects of miR‑214. Additionally, the AMO‑treated MG63 cells showed G0/G1 phase arrest, suggesting that miR‑214 contributed to regulation of the cell cycle. In addition, the results of western blot analysis showed that, in the miR‑214 lentivirus‑infected cells, the levels of cyclin‑D1, c‑myc and lymphoid enhancer‑binding factor‑1 were significantly increased, compared with those in the control lentivirus‑infected cancer cells. Of note, infection with the miR‑214 lentivirus did not affect the levels of Wnt1, Wnt2, Wnt4, Axin or glycogen synthase kinase β in the U2OS cells, whereas the expression levels of β‑catenin in the MG63 cells and Saos‑2 cells were significantly increased. The addition of exogenous β‑catenin effectively reversed the efficiency of miR‑214‑specific AMOs, which was detected using an MTT assay. These data suggested the critical role of miR‑214 in human osteosarcoma via regulation of the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway and demonstrated that miR‑214 is as an oncogene for human osteosarcoma.

Milani G, Lana T, Bresolin S, et al.
Expression Profiling of Circulating Microvesicles Reveals Intercellular Transmission of Oncogenic Pathways.
Mol Cancer Res. 2017; 15(6):683-695 [PubMed] Related Publications
Circulating microvesicles have been described as important players in cell-to-cell communication carrying biological information under normal or pathologic condition. Microvesicles released by cancer cells may incorporate diverse biomolecules (e.g., active lipids, proteins, and RNA), which can be delivered and internalized by recipient cells, potentially altering the gene expression of recipient cells and eventually impacting disease progression. Leukemia

Rychtarcikova Z, Lettlova S, Tomkova V, et al.
Tumor-initiating cells of breast and prostate origin show alterations in the expression of genes related to iron metabolism.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(4):6376-6398 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The importance of iron in the growth and progression of tumors has been widely documented. In this report, we show that tumor-initiating cells (TICs), represented by spheres derived from the MCF7 cell line, exhibit higher intracellular labile iron pool, mitochondrial iron accumulation and are more susceptible to iron chelation. TICs also show activation of the IRP/IRE system, leading to higher iron uptake and decrease in iron storage, suggesting that level of properly assembled cytosolic iron-sulfur clusters (FeS) is reduced. This finding is confirmed by lower enzymatic activity of aconitase and FeS cluster biogenesis enzymes, as well as lower levels of reduced glutathione, implying reduced FeS clusters synthesis/utilization in TICs. Importantly, we have identified specific gene signature related to iron metabolism consisting of genes regulating iron uptake, mitochondrial FeS cluster biogenesis and hypoxic response (ABCB10, ACO1, CYBRD1, EPAS1, GLRX5, HEPH, HFE, IREB2, QSOX1 and TFRC). Principal component analysis based on this signature is able to distinguish TICs from cancer cells in vitro and also Leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) from non-LICs in the mouse model of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Majority of the described changes were also recapitulated in an alternative model represented by MCF7 cells resistant to tamoxifen (TAMR) that exhibit features of TICs. Our findings point to the critical importance of redox balance and iron metabolism-related genes and proteins in the context of cancer and TICs that could be potentially used for cancer diagnostics or therapy.

Tombolan L, Poli E, Martini P, et al.
Global DNA methylation profiling uncovers distinct methylation patterns of protocadherin alpha4 in metastatic and non-metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16(1):886 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), which can be classified as embryonal RMS (ERMS) and alveolar RMS (ARMS), represents the most frequent soft tissue sarcoma in the pediatric population; the latter shows greater aggressiveness and metastatic potential with respect to the former. Epigenetic alterations in cancer include DNA methylation changes and histone modifications that influence overall gene expression patterns. Different tumor subtypes are characterized by distinct methylation signatures that could facilitate early disease detection and greater prognostic accuracy.
METHODS: A genome-wide approach was used to examine methylation patterns associated with different prognoses, and DNA methylome analysis was carried out using the Agilent Human DNA Methylation platform. The results were validated using bisulfite sequencing and 5-aza-2'deoxycytidine treatment in RMS cell lines. Some in vitro functional studies were also performed to explore the involvement of a target gene in RMS tumor cells.
RESULTS: In accordance with the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS) grouping, study results showed that distinct methylation patterns distinguish RMS subgroups and that a cluster of protocadherin genes are hypermethylated in metastatic RMS. Among these, PCDHA4, whose expression was decreased by DNA methylation, emerged as a down-regulated gene in the metastatic samples. As PCDHA4-silenced cells have a significantly higher cell proliferation rate paralleled by higher cell invasiveness, PCDHA4 seems to behave as a tumor suppressor in metastatic RMS.
CONCLUSION: Study results demonstrated that DNA methylation patterns distinguish between metastatic and non-metastatic RMS and suggest that epigenetic regulation of specific genes could represent a novel therapeutic target that could enhance the efficiency of RMS treatments.

Yu J, Huang Y, Liu L, et al.
Genetic polymorphisms of Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes are associated with the efficacy and toxicities of radiotherapy in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(50):82528-82537 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Radiotherapy (RT) is the normative therapeutic treatment for primary nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes in Wnt/β-catenin pathway are correlated to the development, prognosis, and treatment benefit of various cancers. However, it has not been established whether SNPs of Wnt/β-catenin pathway are associated with nasopharyngeal tumorigenesis and the efficacy of RT in NPC patients. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate the nine potentially functional SNPs of four genes in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and genotyped these in 188 NPC patients treated with RT. To achieve this goal, associations between these SNPs and the RT's curative efficacy, as well as acute radiation-induced toxic reaction were determined by multifactorial logistic regression. We observed that catenin beta 1 gene (CTNNB1) rs1880481 and rs3864004, and glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta gene (GSK3β) rs3755557 polymorphisms were significantly associated with poorer efficacy of RT in NPC patients. Moreover, GSK3β rs375557 and adenomatous polyposis coli gene (APC) rs454886 polymorphisms were correlated with acute grade 3-4 radiation-induced dermatitis and oral mucositis, respectively. In conclusion, this study suggests that gene polymorphisms of Wnt/β-catenin may be novel prognostic factors for NPC patients treated with RT.

Cimmino F, Pezone L, Avitabile M, et al.
Proteomic Alterations in Response to Hypoxia Inducible Factor 2α in Normoxic Neuroblastoma Cells.
J Proteome Res. 2016; 15(10):3643-3655 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-2α protein expression in solid tumors promotes stem-like phenotype in cancer stem cells and increases tumorigenic potential in nonstem cancer cells. Recently, we have shown that HIF-1/2α gene expression is correlated to neuroblastoma (NB) poor survival and to undifferentiated tumor state; HIF-2α protein was demonstrated to enhance aggressive features of the disease. In this study, we used proteomic experiments on NB cells to investigate HIF-2α downstream-regulated proteins or pathways with the aim of providing novel therapeutic targets or bad prognosis markers. We verified that pathways mostly altered by HIF-2α perturbation are involved in tumor progression. In particular, HIF-2α induces alteration of central metabolism and splicing control pathways. Simultaneously, WNT, RAS/MAPK, and PI3K/AKT activity or expression are affected and may impact the sensitivity and the intensity of HIF-2α-regulated pathways. Furthermore, genes coding the identified HIF-2α-related markers built a signature able to stratify NB patients with unfavorable outcome. Taken together, our findings underline the relevance of dissecting the downstream effects of a poor survival marker in developing targeted therapy and improving patient stratification. Future prospective studies are needed to translate the use of these data into the clinical practice.

Désert R, Mebarki S, Desille M, et al.
"Fibrous nests" in human hepatocellular carcinoma express a Wnt-induced gene signature associated with poor clinical outcome.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2016; 81(Pt A):195-207 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the 3rd cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Most cases arise in a background of chronic inflammation, extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, severe fibrosis and stem/progenitor cell amplification. Although HCCs are soft cellular tumors, they may contain fibrous nests within the tumor mass. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore cancer cell phenotypes in fibrous nests. Combined anatomic pathology, tissue microarray and real-time PCR analyses revealed that HCCs (n=82) containing fibrous nests were poorly differentiated, expressed Wnt pathway components and target genes, as well as markers of stem/progenitor cells, such as CD44, LGR5 and SOX9. Consistently, in severe liver fibroses (n=66) and in HCCs containing fibrous nests, weighted correlation analysis revealed a gene network including the myofibroblast marker ACTA2, the basement membrane components COL4A1 and LAMC1, the Wnt pathway members FZD1; FZD7; WNT2; LEF1; DKK1 and the Secreted Frizzled Related Proteins (SFRPs) 1; 2 and 5. Moreover, unbiased random survival forest analysis of a transcriptomic dataset of 247 HCC patients revealed high DKK1, COL4A1, SFRP1 and LAMC1 to be associated with advanced tumor staging as well as with bad overall and disease-free survival. In vitro, these genes were upregulated in liver cancer stem/progenitor cells upon Wnt-induced mesenchymal commitment and myofibroblast differentiation. In conclusion, fibrous nests express Wnt target genes, as well as markers of cancer stem cells and mesenchymal commitment. Fibrous nests embody the specific microenvironment of the cancer stem cell niche and can be detected by routine anatomic pathology analyses.

Zhou Y, Huang Y, Cao X, et al.
WNT2 Promotes Cervical Carcinoma Metastasis and Induction of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(8):e0160414 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Previously, we found an 11-gene signature could predict pelvic lymph node metastasis (PLNM), and WNT2 is one of the key genes in the signature. This study explored the expression and underlying mechanism of WNT2 in PLNM of cervical cancer.
METHODS: WNT2 expression level in cervical cancer was detected using western blotting, quantitative PCR, and immunohistochemistry. Two WNT2-specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were used to explore the effects of WNT2 on invasive and metastatic ability of cancer cells, and to reveal the possible mechanism of WNT2 affecting epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The correlation between WNT2 expression and PLNM was further investigated in clinical cervical specimens.
RESULTS: Both WNT2 mRNA and protein expression was upregulated in cervical cancer. High WNT2 expression was significantly associated with tumor size, lymphovascular space involvement, positive parametrium, and most importantly, PLNM. PLNM and WNT2 expression were independent prognostic factors for overall survival and disease-free survival. WNT2 knockdown inhibited SiHa cell motility and invasion and reversed EMT by inhibiting the WNT2/β-catenin pathway. WNT2 overexpression in cervical cancer was associated with β-catenin activation and induction of EMT, which further contributed to metastasis in cervical cancer.
CONCLUSION: WNT2 might be a novel predictor of PLNM and a promising prognostic indicator in cervical cancer.

Maule F, Bresolin S, Rampazzo E, et al.
Annexin 2A sustains glioblastoma cell dissemination and proliferation.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(34):54632-54649 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most devastating tumor of the brain, characterized by an almost inevitable tendency to recur after intensive treatments and a fatal prognosis. Indeed, despite recent technical improvements in GBM surgery, the complete eradication of cancer cell disseminated outside the tumor mass still remains a crucial issue for glioma patients management. In this context, Annexin 2A (ANXA2) is a phospholipid-binding protein expressed in a variety of cell types, whose expression has been recently associated with cell dissemination and metastasis in many cancer types, thus making ANXA2 an attractive putative regulator of cell invasion also in GBM.Here we show that ANXA2 is over-expressed in GBM and positively correlates with tumor aggressiveness and patient survival. In particular, we associate the expression of ANXA2 to a mesenchymal and metastatic phenotype of GBM tumors. Moreover, we functionally characterized the effects exerted by ANXA2 inhibition in primary GBM cultures, demonstrating its ability to sustain cell migration, matrix invasion, cytoskeletal remodeling and proliferation. Finally, we were able to generate an ANXA2-dependent gene signature with a significant prognostic potential in different cohorts of solid tumor patients, including GBM.In conclusion, we demonstrate that ANXA2 acts at multiple levels in determining the disseminating and aggressive behaviour of GBM cells, thus proving its potential as a possible target and strong prognostic factor in the future management of GBM patients.

Català A, Pastor-Anglada M, Caviedes-Cárdenas L, et al.
FLT3 is implicated in cytarabine transport by human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 in pediatric acute leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(31):49786-49799 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
FLT3 abnormalities are negative prognostic markers in acute leukemia. Infant leukemias are a subgroup with frequent MLL (KMT2A) rearrangements, FLT3 overexpression and high sensitivity to cytarabine, but dismal prognosis. Cytarabine is transported into cells by Human Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter-1 (hENT1, SLC29A1), but the mechanisms that regulate hENT1 in acute leukemia have been scarcely studied.We explored the expression and functional link between FLT3 and main cytarabine transporters in 50 pediatric patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and MLL rearrangement (ALL-MLL+) and other subtypes of leukemia, and in leukemia cell lines.A significant positive correlation was found between FLT3 and hENT1 expression in patients. Cytarabine uptake into cells was mediated mainly by hENT1, hENT2 and hCNT1. hENT1-mediated uptake of cytarabine was transiently abolished by the FLT3 inhibitor PKC412, and this effect was associated with decreased hENT1 mRNA and protein levels. Noticeably, the cytotoxicity of cytarabine was lower when cells were first exposed to FLT3 inhibitors (PKC412 or AC220), probably due to decreased hENT1 activity, but we observed a higher cytotoxic effect if FLT3 inhibitors were administered after cytarabine.FLT3 regulates hENT1 activity and thereby affects cytarabine cytotoxicity. The sequence of administration of cytarabine and FLT3 inhibitors is important to maintain their efficacy.

Calabrese FM, Clima R, Pignataro P, et al.
A comprehensive characterization of rare mitochondrial DNA variants in neuroblastoma.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(31):49246-49258 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma, a tumor of the developing sympathetic nervous system, is a common childhood neoplasm that is often lethal. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been found in most tumors including neuroblastoma. We extracted mtDNA data from a cohort of neuroblastoma samples that had undergone Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) and also used snap-frozen samples in which mtDNA was entirely sequenced by Sanger technology. We next undertook the challenge of determining those mutations that are relevant to, or arisen during tumor development. The bioinformatics pipeline used to extract mitochondrial variants from matched tumor/blood samples was enriched by a set of filters inclusive of heteroplasmic fraction, nucleotide variability, and in silico prediction of pathogenicity.
RESULTS: Our in silico multistep workflow applied both on WES and Sanger-sequenced neuroblastoma samples, allowed us to identify a limited burden of somatic and germline mitochondrial mutations with a potential pathogenic impact.
CONCLUSIONS: The few singleton germline and somatic mitochondrial mutations emerged, according to our in silico analysis, do not appear to impact on the development of neuroblastoma. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that most mitochondrial somatic mutations can be considered as 'passengers' and consequently have no discernible effect in this type of cancer.

Lasorsa VA, Formicola D, Pignataro P, et al.
Exome and deep sequencing of clinically aggressive neuroblastoma reveal somatic mutations that affect key pathways involved in cancer progression.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(16):21840-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The spectrum of somatic mutation of the most aggressive forms of neuroblastoma is not completely determined. We sought to identify potential cancer drivers in clinically aggressive neuroblastoma.Whole exome sequencing was conducted on 17 germline and tumor DNA samples from high-risk patients with adverse events within 36 months from diagnosis (HR-Event3) to identify somatic mutations and deep targeted sequencing of 134 genes selected from the initial screening in additional 48 germline and tumor pairs (62.5% HR-Event3 and high-risk patients), 17 HR-Event3 tumors and 17 human-derived neuroblastoma cell lines.We revealed 22 significantly mutated genes, many of which implicated in cancer progression. Fifteen genes (68.2%) were highly expressed in neuroblastoma supporting their involvement in the disease. CHD9, a cancer driver gene, was the most significantly altered (4.0% of cases) after ALK.Other genes (PTK2, NAV3, NAV1, FZD1 and ATRX), expressed in neuroblastoma and involved in cell invasion and migration were mutated at frequency ranged from 4% to 2%.Focal adhesion and regulation of actin cytoskeleton pathways, were frequently disrupted (14.1% of cases) thus suggesting potential novel therapeutic strategies to prevent disease progression.Notably BARD1, CHEK2 and AXIN2 were enriched in rare, potentially pathogenic, germline variants.In summary, whole exome and deep targeted sequencing identified novel cancer genes of clinically aggressive neuroblastoma. Our analyses show pathway-level implications of infrequently mutated genes in leading neuroblastoma progression.

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