Gene Summary

Gene:DKK1; dickkopf WNT signaling pathway inhibitor 1
Aliases: SK, DKK-1
Summary:This gene encodes a protein that is a member of the dickkopf family. It is a secreted protein with two cysteine rich regions and is involved in embryonic development through its inhibition of the WNT signaling pathway. Elevated levels of DKK1 in bone marrow plasma and peripheral blood is associated with the presence of osteolytic bone lesions in patients with multiple myeloma. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:dickkopf-related protein 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 14 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (2)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 14 March 2017 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.

  • DNA Methylation
  • Liver Cancer
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Expression
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Cell Movement
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Messenger RNA
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • alpha-Fetoproteins
  • Chromosome 10
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Western Blotting
  • Epigenetics
  • Cancer RNA
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Transfection
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Osteoblasts
  • Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Promoter Regions
  • Bone Cancer
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Disease Progression
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • DKK1
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Lung Cancer
  • Signal Transduction
  • Staging
  • Osteolysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Apoptosis
Tag cloud generated 14 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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: DKK1 (cancer-related)

Wu J, Zhang J, Zhan Z, et al.
Genetic variations of DICKKOPF family genes might not be associated with gastric cancer susceptibility.
BMC Gastroenterol. 2016; 16(1):78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have implicated that members of the DICKKOPF (DKK) were causally involved in large number of human cancers. This study was designed to investigate the relationship between the genetic variations of DKK family genes and the risk of gastric cancer (GC).
METHODS: Six SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) of DKK family genes, including rs2241529 in DKK1, rs3733635, rs17037102 and rs419764 in DKK2, rs3206824 in DKK3 and rs2073664 in DKK4, were selected and genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and TaqMan SNP genotyping methods in 409 GC cases and 554 cancer-free controls in the Han population in eastern China.
RESULTS: None of the six SNPs achieved significant association with the overall GC risk and stratified analysis by age, gender, smoking status, drinking status, tumor location and pathological classification confirmed these non-significant associations.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicated that the studied six SNPs of DKKs would not be the risk factors for GC in this Han Chinese population. Studies of larger population for different ethnicities will be needed to warrant our findings.

Wang JH, Zhang Y, Li HY, et al.
Dickkopf-1 negatively regulates the expression of osteoprotegerin, a key osteoclastogenesis inhibitor, by sequestering Lrp6 in primary and metastatic lytic bone lesions.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016; 95(24):e3767 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recently, an inverse role for Wnt signaling in the development of osteoclasts in the bone was demonstrated. In the present study, we examined whether there is a commonality in the mechanism of bone resorption and lysis that occur in a diverse set of bone metastatic lesions, as well as in primary bone lesions. Compared with control bone tissue and bone biopsies from patients with nonmetastatic primary tumors (i.e., breast carcinoma, lung adenocarcinoma, and prostate carcinoma), patients with bone metastatic lesions from the three aforementioned primary tumors, as well as osteolytic lesions obtained from the bone biopsies of patients with multiple myeloma, demonstrated an upregulated expression of the glycoprotein Dickkopf-1 at both the mRNA and protein levels. Additionally, by coimmunoprecipitation, Dickkopf-1 pulled-down low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (Lrp6), which is a key downstream effector of the Wnt signaling pathway. The expression of Lrp6 was unaltered in the osteometastatic lesions. This negative regulation was associated with a lowered expression of osteoprotegerin in the osteometastatic lesions, an observation that was previously reported to promote osteoclastogenesis. These findings provide a common mechanism for the inverse relationship between the Wnt signaling pathway and the development of primary or metastatic bone lesions. Pharmacological modulation of the Wnt signaling pathway might benefit the clinical management of primary and metastatic bone lesions.

Li M, Cai H, Yang Y, et al.
Perichondrium mesenchymal stem cells inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells via the DKK-1/Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(2):936-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
In recent years, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which possess the ability to specifically home to tumor sites, with the potential of multi-directional differentiation and low immunogenicity, have been reported to inhibit the growth of various types of tumors. In the present study, we isolated MSCs from the rib perichondrium (PMSCs). By comparing PMSCs with bone marrow‑derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs), we demonstrated that PMSCs present biological characteristics similar to those of BMSCs. Furthermore, we explored the effect and antitumor mechanism of PMSCs in rat SHZ-88 breast cancer cells. The growth, migration and invasion of the SHZ-88 cells were significantly inhibited, and the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and its target genes were downregulated in the SHZ-88 cells by PMSC-conditioned medium. The expression level of dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) was higher in the PMSCs than that noted in the SHZ-88 cells. Neutralization of DKK-1 in the PMSC‑conditioned medium attenuated the inhibitory effects of PMSCs on SHZ-88 cells. Therefore, PMSC-secreted DKK-1 is involved in the inhibition of SHZ-88 cell growth, migration and invasion, via the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway. In addition, we demonstrated that PMSCs inhibited the growth of breast cancer in vivo and prolonged the survival time of tumor‑bearing rats. PMSCs inhibited the growth of transplanted breast tumors through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. In conclusion, our data confirmed that MSCs derived from the perichondrium present biological characteristics similar to those of BMSCs and inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in vitro and in vivo. DKK-1 secreted by PMSCs played a vital role in controlling the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in breast cancer.

Zhang H, Yu C, Chen M, et al.
miR-522 contributes to cell proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting DKK1 and SFRP2.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(8):11321-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The morbidity and mortality of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is very high, finding new therapeutic targets are critical for HCC treatment. miR-522 has been demonstrated to be upregulated in HCC tissues, but its role in HCC progression remains to be elucidated. In this report, we found miR-522 was upregulated in HCC cells and tissues, miR-522 overexpression promoted cell proliferation, colony formation, and cell cycle progression, whereas knockdown of miR-522 reduced these effects. We also analyzed the expression of several key cell cycle regulatory proteins and found overexpression of miR-522-inhibited cell cycle inhibitors p21 and p27 expression and enhanced cyclin D1 expression and the level of Rb phosphorylation, vice versa. These suggested miR-522-accelerated G1/S transition. DKK1 (dickkopf-1) and SFRP2 (secreted frizzled-related protein 2) were the targets of miR-522, their expression was inversely with miR-522 in HCC tissues. DKK1 and SFRP2 the antagonists of Wnt signaling, suggesting miR-522-promoted HCC progression through activating Wnt signaling. miR-522 might be a valuable target for HCC therapy.

Bolomsky A, Schlangen K, Schreiner W, et al.
Targeting of BMI-1 with PTC-209 shows potent anti-myeloma activity and impairs the tumour microenvironment.
J Hematol Oncol. 2016; 9:17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The polycomb complex protein BMI-1 (BMI-1) is a putative oncogene reported to be overexpressed in multiple myeloma (MM). Silencing of BMI-1 was shown to impair the growth and survival of MM cells. However, therapeutic agents specifically targeting BMI-1 were not available so far. Here, we investigated PTC-209, a novel small molecule inhibitor of BMI-1, for its activity in MM.
METHODS: BMI-1 expression was analysed in human MM cell lines and primary MM cells by using publically available gene expression profiling (GEP) data. The anti-MM activity of PTC-209 was investigated by viability testing, cell cycle analysis, annexin V and 7-AAD staining, quantification of cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), JC-1 as well as colony formation assays. Deregulation of central myeloma growth and survival genes was studied by quantitative PCR and flow cytometry, respectively. In addition, the impact of PTC-209 on in vitro osteoclast, osteoblast and tube formation was analysed.
RESULTS: We confirmed overexpression of BMI-1 in MM patients by using publically available GEP datasets. Of note, BMI-1 expression was further increased at relapse which translated into significantly shorter overall survival in relapsed/refractory patients treated with bortezomib or dexamethasone. Treatment with PTC-209 significantly decreased viable cell numbers in human MM cell lines, induced a G1 cell cycle arrest, promoted apoptosis and demonstrated synergistic activity with pomalidomide and carfilzomib. The anti-MM activity of PTC-209 was accompanied by a significant decrease of cyclin D1 (CCND1) and v-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (MYC) expression as well as upregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (CDKN1A) and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1B (CDKN1B). We also observed upregulation of NOXA (up to 3.6 ± 1.2-fold induction, P = 0.009) and subsequent downregulation of myeloid cell leukemia 1 (MCL-1) protein levels, which likely mediates the apoptotic effects of PTC-209. Importantly, the anti-MM activity was upheld in the presence of stromal support or myeloma growth factors insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and interleukin 6 (IL-6). In the MM microenvironment, PTC-209 impaired tube formation, impaired osteoclast development and decreased osteoblast formation in a dose-dependent manner (P < 0.01 at 1 μM, respectively). The latter might be attributed to an induction of DKK1 and was reversed by concurrent anti-DKK1 antibody treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed overexpression of BMI-1 in MM highlighting its role as an attractive drug target and reveal therapeutic targeting of BMI-1 by PTC-209 as a promising novel therapeutic intervention for MM.

Liu FZ, He L, Wang JS, et al.
[Effect of Decitabine on DKK1 Gene Demethylation in Leukemia Cells].
Zhongguo Shi Yan Xue Ye Xue Za Zhi. 2016; 24(1):56-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To explore the effect of decitabine on Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) gene expression level and its downstream Wnt signaling pathway in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell line HL-60.
METHODS: Flow cytometry and DNA ladder analysis were performed to detect apoptosis in HL-60 cell treated with different concentration of decitabine. Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MS-PCR) was used to examine the methylation status of DKK1 gene. The expressions of mRNA and protein were determined by qRT-PCR and Western blot, respectively.
RESULTS: Flow cytometric detection showed that after treating HL-60 cell line with decitabine of different concentrations for 48 h, the early apoptosis of HL-60 cells increased significantly as compared with control group (P < 0.05). DNA ladder analysis showed that the DNA ladder and demethylation of DKK1 gene appeared. RT-PCR and Western blot showed that the expressions of mRNA and protein increased. The protein expressions of β-catenin and C-MYC decreased.
CONCLUSION: The decitabine can promote the apoptosis of HL-60 cells throngh demethylation of DDK1 gene and inhibition of Wnt signalling pathway.

Jia X, Li N, Peng C, et al.
miR-493 mediated DKK1 down-regulation confers proliferation, invasion and chemo-resistance in gastric cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(6):7044-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In the present study, we demonstrated that the levels of DKK1 were decreased in serums and tissues of GC. DKK1 levels inversely correlated with tumor class, TNM stage, distant metastasis and lymph node metastasis of GC. GC patients with low DKK1 levels had a poor overall survival. DKK1 inhibited the proliferation of GC cells in vitro and in vivo. DKK1 also inhibited invasion, but enhanced chemo-sensitivity of GC cells. Mechanically, miR-493 levels increased in GC and directly targeted and down-regulated DKK1 expression. In agreement, miR-493 promoted proliferation of GC cells in vitro and in vivo. MiR-493 also promoted invasion and chemo-resistance of GC cells. However, DKK1 overexpression reversed the effects of miR-493 on proliferation, invasion and chemo-sensitivity. Thus, our results provide new insight for the role of miR-493/DKK1 axis in GC.

Zhao YP, Wang W, Wang XH, et al.
Downregulation of serum DKK-1 predicts poor prognosis in patients with papillary thyroid cancer.
Genet Mol Res. 2015; 14(4):18886-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt inhibitor dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) has been shown to be closely correlated with tumor initiation and progression in various types of cancers. However, the serum level of DKK-1 in patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and its potential clinical significance is poorly understood. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to evaluate the level of serum DKK-1 in patients with PTC (N = 132) and healthy controls (N = 40). The association between serum DKK-1 level and clinicopathological parameters of PTC was examined and independent prognostic markers for PTC were identified. The mean serum DKK-1 level was significantly lower in patients with PTC than healthy controls (44.64 ± 15.13 and 85.51 ± 9.94 ng/mL, respectively; P < 0.01). Following treatment, the mean serum DKK-1 level in PTC patients significantly increased (67.03 ± 17.09 ng/mL; P < 0.01). Serum DKK-1 level was associated with various PTC clinical features including tumor size (P = 0.003), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.001), and tumor-node-metastasis stage (P = 0.004). Survival analysis revealed that PTC patients who had lower serum DKK-1 levels suffered both poorer overall survival (P = 0.036) and relapse-free survival (P = 0.015). Moreover, serum DKK-1 levels were an independent risk factor for predicting the prognosis of PTC (P = 0.031). In conclusion, low DKK-1 serum levels are associated with poor prognosis in PTC patients and DKK-1 could potentially be used as a biomarker leading to earlier diagnosis of PTC.

Sun DK, Wang L, Wang JM, Zhang P
Serum Dickkopf-1 levels as a clinical and prognostic factor in patients with bladder cancer.
Genet Mol Res. 2015; 14(4):18181-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) is a secreted protein that inhibits Wnt signaling. However, the clinical significance and prognostic value of serum DKK-1 levels have not been previously investigated in bladder cancer in Chinese patients. Blood samples were taken from 94 consecutive patients diagnosed with bladder cancer and 60 healthy control subjects. Serum DKK-1 expression levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay according to the manufacturer's directions. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate survival, and the log-rank test was used to test differences between the survival curves. Multivariate survival analysis was performed for all parameters deemed significant in the univariate analyses using the Cox regression model. The mean serum DKK-1 level in patients with bladder cancer was 35.91 ± 16.09 ng/mL, which was significantly higher than that in healthy individuals (9.08 ± 5.21 ng/mL, P < 0.001). Furthermore, serum DKK-1 levels were correlated significantly with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.021), distant metastasis (P = 0.013), and TNM stage (P = 0.008). Kaplan-Meier analysis using the log-rank test indicated that high serum DKK-1 levels were linked to poorer survival (33.4 vs 70.1%; P = 0.007). Multivariate analysis revealed that serum DKK-1 levels represented an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (hazard ratio = 2.365, 95% confidence interval = 1.873-8.881, P = 0.029). High serum DKK-1 levels may be associated with tumor progression and poor prognosis in bladder cancer and may be used as a potential biomarker to predict the prognosis of patients with bladder cancer.

Qiao M, Wu D, Carey M, et al.
Multi-Scale Agent-Based Multiple Myeloma Cancer Modeling and the Related Study of the Balance between Osteoclasts and Osteoblasts.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0143206 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RESEARCH BACKGROUND: Currently, multiple myeloma is the second most common hematological malignancy in the U.S., constituting 1% of all cancers. With conventional treatment, the median survival time is typically 3-4 years, although it can be extended to 5-7 years or longer with advanced treatments. Recent research indicated that an increase in osteoclast (OC) activity is often associated withmultiple myeloma (MM) and that a decrease inosteoblast (OB) activity contributesto the osteolytic lesions in MM. Normally, the populations of OCs and OBs are inequilibrium, and an imbalance in this statecontributes to the development of lesions.
RESEARCH PROCEDURES: A multi-scale agent-based multiple myeloma model was developed to simulate the proliferation, migration and death of OBs and OCs. Subsequently, this model was employed to investigate the efficacy of thethree most commonly used drugs for MM treatment under the following two premises: the reduction in the progression of MM and the re-establishment of the equilibrium between OCs and OBs.
RESEARCH PURPOSES: The simulated results not only demonstrated the capacity of the model to choose optimal combinations of the drugs but also showed that the optimal use of the three drugs can restore the balance between OCs and OBs as well as kill MMs. Furthermore, the drug synergism analysis function of the model revealed that restoring the balance between OBs and OCs can significantly increase the efficacy of drugs against tumor cells.

Purushothaman A, Bandari SK, Liu J, et al.
Fibronectin on the Surface of Myeloma Cell-derived Exosomes Mediates Exosome-Cell Interactions.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(4):1652-63 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Exosomes regulate cell behavior by binding to and delivering their cargo to target cells; however, the mechanisms mediating exosome-cell interactions are poorly understood. Heparan sulfates on target cell surfaces can act as receptors for exosome uptake, but the ligand for heparan sulfate on exosomes has not been identified. Using exosomes isolated from myeloma cell lines and from myeloma patients, we identify exosomal fibronectin as a key heparan sulfate-binding ligand and mediator of exosome-cell interactions. We discovered that heparan sulfate plays a dual role in exosome-cell interaction; heparan sulfate on exosomes captures fibronectin, and on target cells it acts as a receptor for fibronectin. Removal of heparan sulfate from the exosome surface releases fibronectin and dramatically inhibits exosome-target cell interaction. Antibody specific for the Hep-II heparin-binding domain of fibronectin blocks exosome interaction with tumor cells or with marrow stromal cells. Regarding exosome function, fibronectin-mediated binding of exosomes to myeloma cells activated p38 and pERK signaling and expression of downstream target genes DKK1 and MMP-9, two molecules that promote myeloma progression. Antibody against fibronectin inhibited the ability of myeloma-derived exosomes to stimulate endothelial cell invasion. Heparin or heparin mimetics including Roneparstat, a modified heparin in phase I trials in myeloma patients, significantly inhibited exosome-cell interactions. These studies provide the first evidence that fibronectin binding to heparan sulfate mediates exosome-cell interactions, revealing a fundamental mechanism important for exosome-mediated cross-talk within tumor microenvironments. Moreover, these results imply that therapeutic disruption of fibronectin-heparan sulfate interactions will negatively impact myeloma tumor growth and progression.

Hudson BD, Hum NR, Thomas CB, et al.
SOST Inhibits Prostate Cancer Invasion.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(11):e0142058 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Inhibitors of Wnt signaling have been shown to be involved in prostate cancer (PC) metastasis; however the role of Sclerostin (Sost) has not yet been explored. Here we show that elevated Wnt signaling derived from Sost deficient osteoblasts promotes PC invasion, while rhSOST has an inhibitory effect. In contrast, rhDKK1 promotes PC elongation and filopodia formation, morphological changes characteristic of an invasive phenotype. Furthermore, rhDKK1 was found to activate canonical Wnt signaling in PC3 cells, suggesting that SOST and DKK1 have opposing roles on Wnt signaling in this context. Gene expression analysis of PC3 cells co-cultured with OBs exhibiting varying amounts of Wnt signaling identified CRIM1 as one of the transcripts upregulated under highly invasive conditions. We found CRIM1 overexpression to also promote cell-invasion. These findings suggest that bone-derived Wnt signaling may enhance PC tropism by promoting CRIM1 expression and facilitating cancer cell invasion and adhesion to bone. We concluded that SOST and DKK1 have opposing effects on PC3 cell invasion and that bone-derived Wnt signaling positively contributes to the invasive phenotypes of PC3 cells by activating CRIM1 expression and facilitating PC-OB physical interaction. As such, we investigated the effects of high concentrations of SOST in vivo. We found that PC3-cells overexpressing SOST injected via the tail vein in NSG mice did not readily metastasize, and those injected intrafemorally had significantly reduced osteolysis, suggesting that targeting the molecular bone environment may influence bone metastatic prognosis in clinical settings.

Beuselinck B, Jean-Baptiste J, Couchy G, et al.
RANK/OPG ratio of expression in primary clear-cell renal cell carcinoma is associated with bone metastasis and prognosis in patients treated with anti-VEGFR-TKIs.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 113(9):1313-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Bone metastases (BMs) are associated with poor outcome in metastatic clear-cell renal carcinoma (m-ccRCC) treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (anti-VEGFR-TKIs). We aimed to investigate whether expression in the primary tumour of genes involved in the development of BM is associated with outcome in m-ccRCC patients treated with anti-VEGFR-TKIs.
METHODS: Metastatic clear-cell renal cell carcinoma patients with available fresh-frozen tumour and treated with anti-VEGFR-TKIs. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) for receptor activator of NF-kB (RANK), RANK-ligand (RANKL), osteoprotegerin (OPG), the proto-oncogene SRC and DKK1 (Dickkopf WNT signalling pathway inhibitor-1). Time-to-event analysis by Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox regression.
RESULTS: We included 129 m-ccRCC patients treated between 2005 and 2013. An elevated RANK/OPG ratio was associated with shorter median time to metastasis (HR 0.50 (95% CI 0.29-0.87); P=0.014), shorter time to BM (HR 0.54 (95% CI 0.31-0.97); P=0.037), shorter median overall survival (mOS) since initial diagnosis (HR 2.27 (95% CI 1.44-3.60); P=0.0001), shorter median progression-free survival (HR 0.44 (95% CI 0.28-0.71); P=0.001) and mOS (HR 0.31 (95% CI 0.19-0.52); P<0.0001) on first-line anti-VEGFR-TKIs in the metastatic setting. Higher RANK expression was associated with shorter mOS on first-line anti-VEGFR-TKIs (HR 0.46 (95% CI 0.29-0.73); P=0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: RANK/OPG ratio of expression in primary ccRCC is associated with BM and prognosis in patients treated with anti-VEGFR-TKIs. Prospective validation is warranted.

Göbel A, Browne AJ, Thiele S, et al.
Potentiated suppression of Dickkopf-1 in breast cancer by combined administration of the mevalonate pathway inhibitors zoledronic acid and statins.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015; 154(3):623-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt-inhibitor dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) promotes cancer-induced osteolytic bone lesions by direct inhibition of osteoblast differentiation and indirect activation of osteoclasts. DKK-1 is highly expressed in human breast cancer cells and can be suppressed by inhibitors of the mevalonate pathway such as statins and amino-bisphosphonates. However, supraphysiological concentrations are required to suppress DKK-1. We show that a sequential mevalonate pathway blockade using statins and amino-bisphosphonates suppresses DKK-1 more significantly than the individual agents alone. Thus, the reduction of the DKK-1 expression and secretion in the human osteotropic tumor cell lines MDA-MB-231, MDA-MET, and MDA-BONE by zoledronic acid was potentiated by the combination with low concentrations of statins (atorvastatin, simvastatin, and rosuvastatin) by up to 75% (p < 0.05). The specific rescue of prenylation using farnesyl pyrophosphate or geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate revealed that these effects were mediated by suppressed geranylgeranylation rather than by suppressed farnesylation. Moreover, combining low concentrations of statins (1 µM atorvastatin or 0.25 µM simvastatin) and zoledronic acid at low concentrations resulted in an at least 50% reversal of breast cancer-derived DKK-1-mediated inhibition of osteogenic markers in C2C12 cells (p < 0.05). Finally, the intratumoral injection of atorvastatin and zoledronic acid in as subcutaneous MDA-MB-231 mouse model reduced the serum level of human DKK-1 by 25% compared to untreated mice. Hence our study reveals that a sequential mevalonate pathway blockade allows for the combined use of low concentration of statins and amino-bisphosphonates. This combination still significantly suppresses breast cancer-derived DKK-1 to levels where it can no longer inhibit Wnt-mediated osteoblast differentiation.

Fatima S, Shi X, Lin Z, et al.
5-Hydroxytryptamine promotes hepatocellular carcinoma proliferation by influencing β-catenin.
Mol Oncol. 2016; 10(2):195-212 [PubMed] Related Publications
5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), a neurotransmitter and vasoactive factor, has been reported to promote proliferation of serum-deprived hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells but the detailed intracellular mechanism is unknown. As Wnt/β-catenin signalling is highly dysregulated in a majority of HCC, this study explored the regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signalling by 5-HT. The expression of various 5-HT receptors was studied by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) in HCC cell lines as well as in 33 pairs of HCC tumours and corresponding adjacent non-tumour tissues. Receptors 5-HT1D (21/33, 63.6%), 5-HT2B (12/33, 36.4%) and 5-HT7 (15/33, 45.4%) were overexpressed whereas receptors 5-HT2A (17/33, 51.5%) and 5-HT5 (30/33, 90.1%) were reduced in HCC tumour tissues. In vitro data suggests 5-HT increased total β-catenin, active β-catenin and decreased phosphorylated β-catenin protein levels in serum deprived HuH-7 and HepG2 cells compared to control cells under serum free medium without 5-HT. Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signalling was evidenced by increased expression of β-catenin downstream target genes, Axin2, cyclin D1, dickoppf-1 (DKK1) and glutamine synthetase (GS) by qPCR in serum-deprived HCC cell lines treated with 5-HT. Additionally, biochemical analysis revealed 5-HT disrupted Axin1/β-catenin interaction, a critical step in β-catenin phosphorylation. Increased Wnt/β-catenin activity was attenuated by antagonist of receptor 5-HT7 (SB-258719) in HCC cell lines and patient-derived primary tumour tissues in the presence of 5-HT. SB-258719 also reduced tumour growth in vivo. This study provides evidence of Wnt/β-catenin signalling activation by 5-HT and may represent a potential therapeutic target for hepatocarcinogenesis.

van Beuge MM, Ten Dam EJ, Werker PM, Bank RA
Wnt pathway in Dupuytren disease: connecting profibrotic signals.
Transl Res. 2015; 166(6):762-771.e3 [PubMed] Related Publications
A role of Wnt signaling in Dupuytren disease, a fibroproliferative disease of the hand and fingers, has not been fully elucidated. We examined a large set of Wnt pathway components and signaling targets and found significant dysregulation of 41 Wnt-related genes in tissue from the Dupuytren nodules compared with patient-matched control tissue. A large proportion of genes coding for Wnt proteins themselves was downregulated. However, both canonical Wnt targets and components of the noncanonical signaling pathway were upregulated. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that protein expression of Wnt1-inducible secreted protein 1 (WISP1), a known Wnt target, was increased in nodules compared with control tissue, but knockdown of WISP1 using small interfering RNA (siRNA) in the Dupuytren myofibroblasts did not confirm a functional role. The protein expression of noncanonical pathway components Wnt5A and VANGL2 as well as noncanonical coreceptors Ror2 and Ryk was increased in nodules. On the contrary, the strongest downregulated genes in this study were 4 antagonists of Wnt signaling (DKK1, FRZB, SFRP1, and WIF1). Downregulation of these genes in the Dupuytren tissue was mimicked in vitro by treating normal fibroblasts with transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), suggesting cross talk between different profibrotic pathways. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated knockdown of these antagonists in normal fibroblasts led to increased nuclear translocation of Wnt target β-catenin in response to TGF-β1 treatment. In conclusion, we have shown extensive dysregulation of Wnt signaling in affected tissue from Dupuytren disease patients. Components of both the canonical and the noncanonical pathways are upregulated, whereas endogenous antagonists are downregulated, possibly via interaction with other profibrotic pathways.

Awan FM, Naz A, Obaid A, et al.
Identification of Circulating Biomarker Candidates for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC): An Integrated Prioritization Approach.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(9):e0138913 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the world's third most widespread cancer. Currently available circulating biomarkers for this silently progressing malignancy are not sufficiently specific and sensitive to meet all clinical needs. There is an imminent and pressing need for the identification of novel circulating biomarkers to increase disease-free survival rate. In order to facilitate the selection of the most promising circulating protein biomarkers, we attempted to define an objective method likely to have a significant impact on the analysis of vast data generated from cutting-edge technologies. Current study exploits data available in seven publicly accessible gene and protein databases, unveiling 731 liver-specific proteins through initial enrichment analysis. Verification of expression profiles followed by integration of proteomic datasets, enriched for the cancer secretome, filtered out 20 proteins including 6 previously characterized circulating HCC biomarkers. Finally, interactome analysis of these proteins with midkine (MDK), dickkopf-1 (DKK-1), current standard HCC biomarker alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), its interacting partners in conjunction with HCC-specific circulating and liver deregulated miRNAs target filtration highlighted seven novel statistically significant putative biomarkers including complement component 8, alpha (C8A), mannose binding lectin (MBL2), antithrombin III (SERPINC1), 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (HSD11B1), alcohol dehydrogenase 6 (ADH6), beta-ureidopropionase (UPB1) and cytochrome P450, family 2, subfamily A, polypeptide 6 (CYP2A6). Our proposed methodology provides a swift assortment process for biomarker prioritization that eventually reduces the economic burden of experimental evaluation. Further dedicated validation studies of potential putative biomarkers on HCC patient blood samples are warranted. We hope that the use of such integrative secretome, interactome and miRNAs target filtration approach will accelerate the selection of high-priority biomarkers for other diseases as well, that are more amenable to downstream clinical validation experiments.

Xu Y, Chen B, George SK, Liu B
Downregulation of MicroRNA-152 contributes to high expression of DKK1 in multiple myeloma.
RNA Biol. 2015; 12(12):1314-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple myeloma (MM) induced bone lesion is one of the most crippling characteristics, and the MM secreted Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) has been reported to play important role in this pathologic process. However, the underlying regulation mechanisms involved in DKK1 expression are still unclear. In this study, we validated the expression patterns of microRNA (miR) 15a, 34a, 152, and 223 in MM cells and identified that miR-152 was significantly downregulated in the MM group compared with the non-MM group, and that miR-152 level was negatively correlated with the expression of DKK1 in the MM cells. Mechanistic studies showed that manipulating miR-152 artificially in MM cells led to changes in DKK-1 expression, and miR-152 blocked DKK1 transcriptional activity by binding to the 3'UTR of DKK1 mRNA. Importantly, we revealed that MM cells stably expressing miR-152 improved the chemotherapy sensitivity, and counteracted the bone disruption in an intrabone-MM mouse model. Our study contributes better understanding of the regulation mechanism of DKK-1 in MM, and opens up the potential for developing newer therapeutic strategies in the MM treatment.

Hu P, Chu J, Wu Y, et al.
NBAT1 suppresses breast cancer metastasis by regulating DKK1 via PRC2.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(32):32410-25 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Long noncoding RNA NBAT1 (neuroblastoma associated transcript 1) regulates cell proliferation and invasion by interacting with PRC2 (polycomb repressive complex 2) member EZH2 (enhancer of zeste 2). Decreased expression of NBAT1 is associated with poor clinical outcome in neuroblastomas. However, the roles of NBAT1 in other cancers remain unknown. Here, we report that NBAT1 is down-regulated in various types of cancer. Particularly, reduced NBAT1 in breast cancer is associated with tumor metastasis and poor patient prognosis. In vitro, ectopic NBAT1 inhibits migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. Mechanistic study shows that NBAT1 is associated with PRC2 member EZH2 and regulates global gene expression profile. Among them, DKK1 (dickkopf WNT signaling pathway inhibitor 1) is found to be regulated by NBAT1 in a PRC2 dependent manner, and is responsible for NBAT1's effects in inhibiting migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. Taken together, our study demonstrates that long noncoding RNA NBAT1 is a potential breast cancer prognostic marker, as well as a potential therapeutic target to inhibit breast cancer metastasis.

Salim H, Zong D, Hååg P, et al.
DKK1 is a potential novel mediator of cisplatin-refractoriness in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:628 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Platinum compounds are the mainstay of chemotherapy for lung cancer. Unfortunately treatment failure remains a critical issue since about 60% of all non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients display intrinsic platinum resistance.
METHODS: We analyzed global gene expression profiles of NSCLC clones surviving a pulse treatment with cisplatin and mapped deregulated signaling networks in silico by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). Further validation was done using siRNA.
RESULTS: The pooled cisplatin-surviving NSCLC clones from each of the biological replicates demonstrated heterogeneous gene expression patterns both in terms of the number and the identity of the altered genes. Genes involved in Wnt signaling pathway (Dickkopf-1, DKK1), DNA repair machinery (XRCC2) and cell-cell/cell-matrix interaction (FMN1, LGALS9) were among the top deregulated genes by microarray in these replicates and were validated by q-RT-PCR. We focused on DKK1 which previously was reported to be overexpressed in NSCLC patients. IPA network analysis revealed coordinate up-regulation of several DKK1 transcriptional regulators (TCF4, EZH2, DNAJB6 and HDAC2) in cisplatin-surviving clones from that biological replicate. Knockdown of DKK1 by siRNA sensitized for cisplatin in two different NSCLC cell lines and in ovarian A2780 cells, but not in the A2780 cis subline made resistant to cisplatin by chronic exposure, suggesting a role of DKK1 in intrinsic but not acquired platinum refractoriness.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified DKK1 as a possible marker of a cisplatin-refractory phenotype and as a potential novel therapeutic target to improve platinum response of NSCLC cells.

Majchrzak-Celińska A, Słocińska M, Barciszewska AM, et al.
Wnt pathway antagonists, SFRP1, SFRP2, SOX17, and PPP2R2B, are methylated in gliomas and SFRP1 methylation predicts shorter survival.
J Appl Genet. 2016; 57(2):189-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The deregulation of Wnt signaling is observed in various cancers, including gliomas, and might be related to the methylation of the genes encoding antagonists of this signaling pathway. The aim of the study was to assess the methylation status of the promoter regions of six Wnt negative regulators and to determine their prognostic value in clinical samples of gliomas of different grades. The methylation of SFRP1, SFRP2, PPP2R2B, DKK1, SOX17, and DACH1 was analyzed in 64 glioma samples using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP). The results were analyzed in correlation with clinicopathological data. Promoter methylation in at least one of the analyzed genes was found in 81.3 % of the tumors. All benign tumors [grade I according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification] lacked the methylation of the studied genes, whereas grade II, III, and IV tumors were, in most cases, methylation-positive. The methylation index correlated with the patient's age. The most frequently methylated genes were SFRP1 and SFRP2 (73.4 % and 46.9 %, respectively), followed by SOX17 (20.3 %) and PPP2R2B (10.9 %); DKK1 and DACH1 were basically unmethylated (1.6 %). SFRP1 methylation negatively correlated with patients' survival time, and was significantly more frequent in older patients and those with higher grade tumors. Overall, the results of this study indicate that aberrant promoter methylation of Wnt pathway antagonists is common in gliomas, which may be the possible cause of up-regulation of this signaling pathway often observed in these tumors. Moreover, SFRP1 promoter methylation can be regarded as a potential indicator of glioma patients' survival.

Liu FZ, Wang JS, Zhu HQ
[Research Progress on DKK1 Gene in Leukemia].
Zhongguo Shi Yan Xue Ye Xue Za Zhi. 2015; 23(4):1190-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
A number of studies have demonstrated that the methylation of Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) gene promoter is related with the occurrence and development of many neoplastic diseases. By means of binding with corresponding receptors, DKK1 blocks the transduction pathway of Wnt/β-catenin/TCF and inhibits the proliferation and invasion of tumor cells, inducing apoptosis. Leukemia is a hyperplastic disease of hematopoietic stem cell malignant clone. Its pathogenesis has been confirmed to be closely related with the aberrant activation of Wnt signaling pathway. This pathway is associated with the self-renewal and proliferation of the hematopoietic stem cells, which can regulate growth, differentiation, migration of the cells, angiogenesis and embryonic development. Its expression is regulated by some suppressor genes like Dickkopf 1 (DKK1). Leukemia often accompanied by methylation modification of the DKK1 gene, so as to leads to silencing itself and activation of the Wnt signaling pathway, which cause the occurrence of leukemia. Some therapeutic methods on leukemia aiming at DKK1 gene have been reported, among which DKK1 gene was demethylated. The intensive study on the expression and function of DKK1 should be important for the early diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. This article reviews the current progress in this field.

Lyros O, Rafiee P, Nie L, et al.
Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Activation beyond Robust Nuclear β-Catenin Accumulation in Nondysplastic Barrett's Esophagus: Regulation via Dickkopf-1.
Neoplasia. 2015; 17(7):598-611 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation has been reported only during the late steps of Barrett's esophagus (BE) neoplastic progression, but not in BE metaplasia, based on the absence of nuclear β-catenin. However, β-catenin transcriptional activity has been recorded in absence of robust nuclear accumulation. Thus, we aimed to investigate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling in nondysplastic BE.
METHODS: Esophageal tissues from healthy and BE patients without dysplasia were analyzed for Wnt target gene expression by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Esophageal squamous (EPC1-& EPC2-hTERT), BE metaplastic (CP-A), and adenocarcinoma (OE33) cell lines were characterized for Wnt activation by qRT-PCR, Western blot, and luciferase assay. Wnt activity regulation was examined by using recombinant Wnt3a and Dickkopf-1 (Dkk1) as well as Dkk1 short interfering RNA.
RESULTS: Wnt target genes (AXIN2, c-MYC, Cyclin D1, Dkk1) and Wnt3a were significantly upregulated in nondysplastic BE compared with squamous mucosa. Elevated levels of dephosphorylated β-catenin were detected in nondysplastic BE. Nuclear active β-catenin and TOPflash activity were increased in CP-A and OE33 cells compared with squamous cells. Wnt3a-mediated β-catenin signaling activation was abolished by Dkk1 in CP-A cells. TOPFlash activity was elevated following Dkk1 silencing in CP-A but not in OE33 cells. Dysplastic and esophageal adenocarcinoma tissues demonstrated further Dkk1 and AXIN2 overexpression.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the absence of robust nuclear accumulation, β-catenin is transcriptionally active in nondysplastic BE. Dkk1 overexpression regulates β-catenin signaling in BE metaplastic but not in adenocarcinoma cells, suggesting that early perturbation of Dkk1-mediated signaling suppression may contribute to BE malignant transformation.

Lian J, Tang J, Shi H, et al.
Positive feedback loop of hepatoma-derived growth factor and β-catenin promotes carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(30):29357-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To clarify the role of hepatoma-derived growth factor (HDGF) and β-catenin in carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer (CRC), our results showed that high HDGF expression was found in CRC cells and tissues and significantly related to histological differentiation (p = 0.035) and lymph node metastasis (p = 0.000). Significant positive correlation between HDGF expression and β-catenin abnormal expression was found in CRC tissues. High HDGF and lymph node metastasis were the strong independent prognostic indicators for reduced overall survival in CRC patients. HDGF knockdown dramatically inhibited cellular proliferation, migration, invasion, and tumorigenesis, both in vitro and in vivo, but induced G1 phase arrest and apoptosis in CRC cells. HDGF knock-down dramatically suppressed β-catenin and its down-stream genes expression in CRC cells. Intriguingly, β-catenin knock-down dramatically suppressed HDGF expression in CRC cells. Human recombinant Wnt3a and DKK1 treatment increased and decreased HDGF, β-catenin, c-Myc, cyclin D1, MMP9, and phos-GSK-3β (Ser9) protein expression in nuclear and cytoplasmic fraction of CRC cells upon β-catenin knock-down, respectively. Three HDGF-binding elements in β-catenin promoter were found and specific for transcriptional activation of β-catenin in CRC cells. In conclusion, our results first suggest that HDGF and β-catenin interacts as a positive feedback loop, which plays an important role in carcinogenesis and progression of CRC.

Qi L, Song W, Liu Z, et al.
Wnt3a Promotes the Vasculogenic Mimicry Formation of Colon Cancer via Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling.
Int J Mol Sci. 2015; 16(8):18564-79 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Our previous study provided evidence that non-canonical Wnt signaling is involved in regulating vasculogenic mimicry (VM) formation. However, the functions of canonical Wnt signaling in VM formation have not yet been explored. In this study, we found the presence of VM was related to colon cancer histological differentiation (p < 0.001), the clinical stage (p < 0.001), and presence of metastasis and recurrence (p < 0.001). VM-positive colon cancer samples showed increased Wnt3a expression (p < 0.001) and β-catenin nuclear expression (p < 0.001) compared with the VM-negative samples. In vitro, over-regulated Wnt3a expression in HT29 colon cancer cells promoted the capacity to form tube-like structures in the three-dimensional (3-D) culture together with increased expression of endothelial phenotype-associated proteins such as VEGFR2 and VE-cadherin. The mouse xenograft model showed that Wnt3a-overexpressing cells grew into larger tumor masses and formed more VM than the control cells. In addition, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling antagonist Dickkopf-1(Dkk1) can reverse the capacity to form tube-like structures and can decrease the expressions of VEGFR2 and VE-cadherin in Wnt3a-overexpressing cells. Taken together, our results suggest that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is involved in VM formation in colon cancer and might contribute to the development of more accurate treatment modalities aimed at VM.

Zheng Y, Guo J, Zhou J, et al.
FoxM1 transactivates PTTG1 and promotes colorectal cancer cell migration and invasion.
BMC Med Genomics. 2015; 8:49 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Metastasis is the major cause of cancer-related death. Forkhead Box M1 (FoxM1) is a master regulator of tumor metastasis. This study aims to identify new FoxM1 targets in regulating tumor metastasis using bioinformatics tools as well as biological experiments.
METHODS: Illumina microarray was used to profile WT and PTTG1 knockout HCT116 cells. R2 Genomics Analysis was used to identify PTTG1 as a potential FoxM1 targeted gene. Luciferase reporter array, EMSA and Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) were used to determine the binding of FoxM1 to PTTG1 promoter. Boyden chamber assay was used to evaluate the effects of FoxM1-PTTG1 on cell migration and invasion. Splenic-injection induced liver metastasis model was used to evaluate the effects of FoxM1-PTTG1 on liver metastasis of colorectal cancer.
RESULTS: Analyses of multiple microarray datasets derived from human colorectal cancer indicated that correlation levels of FoxM1 and pituitary tumor transforming gene (PTTG1) are highly concordant (R = 0.68 ~ 0.89, p = 2.1E-226 ~ 9.6E-86). FoxM1 over-expression increased and knock-down decreased PTTG1 expression. Luciferase reporter assay identified that the -600 to -300 bp region of PTTG1 promoter is important for FoxM1 to enhance PTTG1 promoter activity. EMSA and ChIP assays confirmed that FoxM1 directly binds to PTTG1 promoter at the -391 to -385 bp region in colorectal cancer cells. Boyden chamber assay indicated that both FoxM1 and PTTG1 regulate migration and invasion of HCT116 and SW620 colorectal cancer cells. Further in vivo assays indicated that PTTG1 knock out decreased the liver metastasis of FoxM1 over-expressing HCT116 cells. Microarray analyses identified 662 genes (FDR < 0.05) differentially expressed between WT and PTTG1(-/-) HCT116 cells. Among them, dickkopf homolog 1 (DKK1), a known WNT pathway inhibitor, was suppressed by PTTG1 and FoxM1.
CONCLUSIONS: PTTG1 is a FoxM1 targeted gene. FoxM1 binds to PTTG1 promoter to enhance PTTG1 transcription, and FoxM1-PTTG1 pathway promotes colorectal cancer migration and invasion.

Refaat B, El-Shemi AG, Kensara OA, et al.
Vitamin D3 enhances the tumouricidal effects of 5-Fluorouracil through multipathway mechanisms in azoxymethane rat model of colon cancer.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 34:71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Vitamin D3 and its analogues have recently been shown to enhance the anti-tumour effects of 5- Fluorouracil (5-FU) both in vitro and in xenograft mouse model of colon cancer. This study measured the potential mechanism(s) by which vitamin D3 could synergise the tumouricidal activities of 5-FU in azoxymethane (AOM) rat model of colon cancer.
METHODS: Seventy-five male Wistar rats were divided equally into 5 groups: Control, AOM, AOM-treated by 5-FU (5-FU), AOM-treated by vitamin D3 (VitD3), and AOM-treated by 5-FU + vitamin D3 (5-FU/D). The study duration was 15 weeks. AOM was injected subcutaneously for 2 weeks (15 mg/kg/week). 5-FU was injected intraperitoneally in the 9th and 10th weeks post AOM (8 total injections were given: 12 mg/kg/day for 4 successive days, then 6 mg/kg every other day for another 4 doses) and oral vitamin D3 (500 IU/rat/day; 3 days/week) was given from week 7 post AOM till the last week of the study. The colons were collected following euthanasia for gross and histopathological examination. The expression of β-catenin, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), TGF-β type 2 receptor (TGF-βR2), smad4, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and heat shock protein-90 (HSP-90) proteins was measured by immunohistochemistry. In colonic tissue homogenates, quantitative RT-PCR was used to measure the mRNA expression of Wnt, β-catenin, Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) genes, while ELISA was used to measure the concentrations of TGF-β1, HSP-90 and COX-2 proteins.
RESULTS: Monotherapy with 5-FU or vitamin D3 significantly decreased the number of grown tumours induced by AOM (P < 0.05); however, their combination resulted in more significant tumouricidal effects (P < 0.05) compared with monotherapy groups. Mechanistically, vitamin D3/5-FU co-therapy significantly decreased the expression of Wnt, β-catenin, iNOS, COX-2 and HSP-90 and significantly increased the expression of DKK-1, TGF-β1, TGF-βR2, smad4 (P < 0.05), in comparison with their corresponding monotherapy groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D3 and 5-FU synergise together and exhibit better anticancer effects by modulating Wnt/β-catenin pathway, TGF-β1 signals, iNOS, COX-2 and HSP-90. Further studies are required to illustrate the clinical value of vitamin D supplementation during the treatment of colon cancer with 5-FU in human patients.

Bao GY, Lu KY, Cui SF, Xu L
DKK1 eukaryotic expression plasmid and expression product identification.
Genet Mol Res. 2015; 14(2):6312-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
We constructed the human dickkopf 1 (DKK1) eukaryotic expression plasmid and expressed, purified, and identified its expression product. We extracted cancer cells from cervical cancer tissue, followed by extraction of mRNA. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was conducted to obtain DKK1 gene fragments. Using these fragments, we prepared the recombinant plasmid pCMV-HA2/DKK1. The recombinant plasmid was restriction enzyme-digested and sequenced, and using liposome vectors, was transiently transfected into Free-Style 293-F cells (serum-free medium). DKK1 protein was detected by western blotting. The amplification product showed the expected size. Restriction enzyme digestion and sequence analysis showed that the recombinant plasmid was PCMV-HA2/DKK1. The expression product was verified properly by western blotting using an anti-DKKI antibody. The successful cloning of the DKKI gene and expression of DKKI protein will be useful for studying the biological activity of tumorigenesis.

Guan GF, Zhang DJ, Zheng Y, et al.
Abnormal Wnt signaling and overexpression of ABCG2 contributes to drug efflux properties of side population cells in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(3):4352-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) has major implications in the choice of cancer treatment strategy and is responsible for tumor relapse. CSCs have been isolated and characterized in several types of cancer; however, studies concerning the CSCs from nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) are limited. Thus, the present study was designed to isolate and characterize the cancer stem-like side population (SP) cells from NPC samples. The fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-based Hoechst 33342 dye exclusion technique identified that 3.9% of cells from NPC samples were cancer stem-like SP cells. Upon treatment with verapamil (ABC transporter inhibitor), the percentage of SP cells was significantly reduced to 0.7%, which confirms that the ABC transporter protein exhibits a significant role in drug exclusion. Fluorescence microscopy analysis revealed that the FACS purified SP cells showed increased expression of ABCG2 (ATP transporter protein), Oct-4 and CD44 (stem cell surface protein). Furthermore, these SP cells exhibited increased mRNA expression of ABCG2 and anti-apoptotic factor Bmi-1, which contribute to multi-drug resistance and increased cell survival rate. Notably, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways are altered in SP cells. In addition, using reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis it was observed that the cells exhibited increased expression of DKK1 and AXIN2. In conclusion, data from the present study clearly demonstrated that the presence of cancer stem-like SP cells from NPC may be responsible for chemotherapeutic drug resistance, tumor recurrence and invasion.

Yeh CC, Fan Y, Jiang L, et al.
Genistein Suppresses Growth of Human Uterine Sarcoma Cell Lines via Multiple Mechanisms.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(6):3167-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The estrogen-like soy isoflavone genistein can suppress the growth of a number of different types of cancer cells, but its effect on uterine sarcoma is unknown.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The impact of genistein on the proliferation of three uterine sarcoma cell lines, MES-SA, MES-SA-Dx5 and SK-UT-1, was evaluated. TOPflash luciferase reporter assay and western blotting were used to assess the influence of genistein on cellular signaling; DNA fragmentation was assessed as a measure of genistein-induced apoptosis.
RESULTS: Genistein inhibited the proliferation of all three cell lines, with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations of 19.2 μM, 13.1 μM and 9.3 μM for SK-UT-1, MES-SA-Dx5, and MES-SA, respectively. This inhibitory activity was accompanied by induction of DNA fragmentation at 48 h. Western blot analyses revealed three major expression patterns: induction of p53 and Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK1) and suppression of histone deacetylase 4/5/7 (HDAC4/5/7), dishevelled protein (DVL), BAX, survivin and phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (phospho-MEK) in all three lines; suppression of p27 and β-catenin in the more resistant lines MES-SA-Dx5 and SK-UT-1; and suppression of Protein kinase B (AKT) and extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) phosphorylation and activation of caspase-3 in the parental derived lines MES-SA and MES-SA-Dx5. Down-regulation of β-catenin expression also coincided with decreases in TOPflash activity.
CONCLUSION: Genistein reduces sarcoma cell numbers through inhibition of proliferative signaling and through induction of programmed or non-programmed cell death. Genistein-mediated signaling changes were unique in each individual cell line, and the differential signaling responses in these three cell lines may contribute to their different levels of susceptibility to this compound.

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