Gene Summary

Gene:SFRP4; secreted frizzled related protein 4
Aliases: PYL, FRP-4, FRPHE, sFRP-4
Summary:Secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4) is a member of the SFRP family that contains a cysteine-rich domain homologous to the putative Wnt-binding site of Frizzled proteins. SFRPs act as soluble modulators of Wnt signaling. The expression of SFRP4 in ventricular myocardium correlates with apoptosis related gene expression. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:secreted frizzled-related protein 4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


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 (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 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.

  • Gene Silencing
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Mutation
  • Texas
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Western Blotting
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Cancer DNA
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Smoking
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • CpG Islands
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Eye Proteins
  • Signal Transducing Adaptor Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Chromosome 7
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Apoptosis
  • Azacitidine
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Signal Transduction
  • Promoter Regions
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • DNA Methylation
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Adolescents
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Staging
  • Epigenetics
Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: SFRP4 (cancer-related)

García-Tobilla P, Solórzano SR, Salido-Guadarrama I, et al.
SFRP1 repression in prostate cancer is triggered by two different epigenetic mechanisms.
Gene. 2016; 593(2):292-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
Worldwide, prostate cancer (PCa) is the second cause of death from malignant tumors among men. Establishment of aberrant epigenetic modifications, such as histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) and DNA methylation (DNAme) produce alterations of gene expression that are common in PCa. Genes of the SFRP family are tumor suppressor genes that are frequently silenced by DNA hypermethylation in many cancer types. The SFRP family is composed of 5 members (SFRP1-5) that modulate the WNT pathway, which is aberrantly activated in PCa. The expression of SFRP genes in PCa and their regulation by DNAme has been controversial. Our objective was to determine the gene expression pattern of the SFRP family in prostatic cell lines and fresh frozen tissues from normal prostates (NP), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer (PCa), by qRT-PCR, and their DNAme status by MSP and bisulfite sequencing. In prostatic cancer cell lines, the 5 SFRPs showed significantly decreased expression levels compared to a control normal prostatic cell line (p<0.0001). In agreement, SFRP1 and SFRP5 genes showed decreased expression levels in CaP fresh frozen tissues compared to NP (p<0.01), while a similar trend was observed for SFRP2. Conversely, increased levels of SFRP4 expression were found in PCa compared to BPH (p<0.01). Moreover, SFRP2, SFRP3, and SFRP5 showed DNA hypermethylation in PCa cell lines. Interestingly, we observed DNA hypermethylation at the promoter of SFRP1 in the PC3 cell line, but not in LNCaP. However, in the LNCaP cell line we found an aberrant gain of the repressive histone posttranslational modification Histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3). In conclusion, decreased expression by DNA hypermethylation of SFRP5 is a common feature of PCa, while decreased expression of SFRP1 can be due to DNA hypermethylation, but sometimes an aberrant gain of the histone mark H3K27me3 is observed instead.

Ghoshal A, Ghosh SS
Antagonizing canonical Wnt signaling pathway by recombinant human sFRP4 purified from E. coli and its implications in cancer therapy.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2016; 418(1-2):119-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt signaling pathway plays a predominant role in aberrant proliferation in myriad of cancers. In non-cancerous cells, Wnts are blocked by the secreted frizzled-related proteins (sFRPs) that are generally downregulated in cancer cells. We have purified and characterized bacterially expressed glutathione S-transferase-tagged SFRP4 from a novel clone generated from human cell origin. Cervical cancer (HeLa) and lung cancer (A549) cells, in which Wnt and associated genes were found to be expressed, were treated with the purified recombinant sFRP4, which revealed a significant dose-dependent cell growth inhibition up to 40 %. The current investigation on functionality of this bacterially produced recombinant sFRP4 in arresting cancer cell proliferation is the first of its kind, where G2/M phase arrest and early apoptosis were evident. Increase in phosphorylated β-catenin in sFRP4 treatment indicated inhibition of Wnt pathway, which was further confirmed by downregulation of pro-proliferative genes, namely cyclin D1, c-myc, and survivin. Functional activity of recombinant sFRP4 was further exploited in co-therapy module with chemotherapeutic drugs to decipher molecular events. Collectively, our study on purified recombinant sFRP4 from bacterial host holds great promise in targeting Wnt signaling for exploring new strategies to combat cancer.

Wu Y, Liu C, Yu S, et al.
Assessment of sFRP4 as a bio-marker for predicting aggressiveness and recurrence of growth hormone-secreting pituitary adenomas.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(5):2991-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The association of sFRP4 expression with aggressiveness and recurrence of growth hormone (GH)-secreting pituitary adenomas was investigated. Ten normal pituitary and 52 GH-secreting pituitary adenoma specimens were classified into three groups: normal pituitary (control) group, non-aggressive group, and aggressive group, according to preoperative evaluation by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/computed tomography (CT). Expression of sFRP4 was determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), western blot analysis, and tissue microarrays, to assess the association between sFRP4 and aggressiveness. Follow-up information of all 52 patients was collected to evaluate the impact of sFRP4 expression on the recurrence/progression of GH-secreting pituitary adenomas. qRT-PCR results showed a lower level of sFRP4 mRNA in the aggressive group, as compared to that in the non-aggressive group (P=0.001). A similar trend was observed on western blot analysis for sFRP4 protein expression (P=0.004). On analysis by tissue microarrays, weak sFRP4 expression was detected in the aggressive group (10/15, 66.7%). Univariate analysis showed a significant relationship between low sFRP4 expression and aggressiveness (P=0.024). On multivariate analysis weak sFRP4 expression was found to be an independent factor of recurrence/progression (odds ratio: 0.063, P=0.026). Methylation of the sFRP4 promoter was increased in low sFRP4 staining group compared to that in the high sFRP4 staining group (P<0.001). In this study, weak sFRP4 expression appeared to predict aggressive behavior, and was associated with recurrence/progression of GH-secreting pituitary adenomas. Methylation of the sFRP4 promoter may account for the low sFRP4 expression.

Zang B, Huang G, Wang X, Zheng S
HPV-16 E6 promotes cell growth of esophageal cancer via downregulation of miR-125b and activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(10):13687-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is a possible cause of esophageal cancer. However, the molecular pathogenesis of HPV-infected esophageal cancer remains unclear. The expression levels of some microRNAs including miR-125b have been negatively correlated with HPV infection, and miR-125b downregulation is associated with tumorigenesis. In addition, Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been suggested to play an important role in esophageal cancer (EC). We examined miR-125b and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in HPV-16 E6 promoted tumor progression in EC. HPV-16 E6 transfection decreased markedly the expression levels of miR-125b and promoted the colony formation in the Eca 109 and Kyse 150 cell lines, and restoration of miR-125b expression level antagonized the increased colony formation in HPV-16 E6 transfected cell lines. We also demonstrated that overexpression of E6 upregulated the Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity via modulating the multiple regulators including TLE1, GSK3β, and sFRP4. Overexpression of miR-125b restored the expression levels of these proteins. Expression of miR-125b was lower in HPV-16 E6 positive esophageal cancer tissues, and was negatively correlated with E6 mRNA levels. Our results indicate that HPV-16 E6 promotes tumorigenesis in EC via down-regulation of miR-125b, and this underlying mechanism may be involved in the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

Yadav A, Gupta A, Yadav S, et al.
Association of Wnt signaling pathway genetic variants in gallbladder cancer susceptibility and survival.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(6):8083-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is the most common malignancy of the biliary tract with adverse prognosis and poor survival. Wnt signaling plays an important role in embryonic development and regeneration of tissues in all the species. Deregulation of expression and mutations in this pathway may lead to disease state such as cancer. In this study, we assessed the association of common germline variants of Wnt pathway genes (SFRP2, SFRP4, DKK2, DKK3, WISP3, APC, β-catenin, AXIN-2, GLI-1) to evaluate their contribution in predisposition to GBC and treatment outcomes. The study included 564 GBC patients and 250 controls. Out of 564, 200 patients were followed up for treatment response and survival. Tumor response (RECIST 1.1) was recorded in 116 patients undergoing non-adjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). Survival was assessed by Kaplan-Meier curve and Cox-proportional hazard regression. Single locus analysis showed significant association of SFRP4 rs1802073G > T [p value = 0.0001], DKK2 rs17037102C > T [p value = 0.0001], DKK3 rs3206824C > T [p value = 0.012], APC rs4595552 A/T [p value = 0.021], APC rs11954856G > T [p value = 0.047], AXIN-2 rs4791171C > T [p value = 0.001], β-catenin rs4135385A > G [p value = 0.031], and GLI-1 rs222826C > G [p value = 0.001] with increased risk of GBC. Gene-gene interaction using GMDR analysis predicted APC rs11954856 and AXIN2 rs4791171 as significant in conferring GBC susceptibility. Cox-proportional hazard model showed GLI-1 rs2228226 CG/GG and AXIN-2 rs4791171 TT genotype higher hazard ratio. In recursive partitioning, AXIN-2 rs4791171 TT genotype showed higher mortality and hazard. Most of studied genetic variants influence GBC susceptibility. APC rs11954856, GLI-1 rs2228226, and AXIN-2 rs4791171 were found to be associated with poor survival in advanced GBC patients.

Kierulf-Vieira KS, Sandberg CJ, Grieg Z, et al.
Wnt inhibition is dysregulated in gliomas and its re-establishment inhibits proliferation and tumor sphere formation.
Exp Cell Res. 2016; 340(1):53-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Evidence indicates that the growth of glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and malignant primary brain cancer, is driven by glioma stem cells (GSCs) resistant to current treatment. As Wnt-signaling is pivotal in stem cell maintenance, we wanted to explore its role in GSCs with the objective of finding distinct signaling mechanisms that could serve as potential therapeutic targets. We compared gene expression in GSCs (n=9) and neural stem cells from the adult human brain (ahNSC; n=3) to identify dysregulated genes in the Wnt signaling pathway. This identified a six-gene Wnt signature present in all nine primary GSC cultures, and the combined expression of three of these genes (SFRP1, SFRP4 and FZD7) reduced median survival of glioma patients from 38 to 17 months. Treatment with recombinant SFRP1 protein in primary cell cultures downregulated nuclear β-catenin and decreased in vitro proliferation and sphere formation in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, expressional and functional analysis of SFRP1-treated GSCs revealed that SFRP1 halts cell cycling and induces apoptosis. These observations demonstrate that Wnt signaling is dysregulated in GSC, and that inhibition of the Wnt pathway could serve as a therapeutic strategy in the treatment of GBM.

Mortensen MM, Høyer S, Lynnerup AS, et al.
Expression profiling of prostate cancer tissue delineates genes associated with recurrence after prostatectomy.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16018 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer death amongst males. The main clinical dilemma in treating prostate cancer is the high number of indolent cases that confer a significant risk of overtreatment. In this study, we have performed gene expression profiling of tumor tissue specimens from 36 patients with prostate cancer to identify transcripts that delineate aggressive and indolent cancer. Key genes were validated using previously published data and by tissue microarray analysis. Two molecular subgroups were identified with a significant overrepresentation of tumors from patients with biochemical recurrence in one of the groups. We successfully validated key transcripts association with recurrence using two publically available datasets totaling 669 patients. Twelve genes were found to be independent predictors of recurrence in multivariate logistical regression analysis. SFRP4 gene expression was consistently up regulated in patients with recurrence in all three datasets. Using an independent cohort of 536 prostate cancer patients we showed SFRP4 expression to be an independent predictor of recurrence after prostatectomy (HR = 1.35; p = 0.009). We identified SFRP4 to be associated with disease recurrence. Prospective studies are needed in order to assess the clinical usefulness of the identified key markers in this study.

Yilmaz M, Donmez G, Kacan T, et al.
Significant Association Between Polymorphisms of Wnt Antagonist Genes and Lung Cancer.
J Investig Med. 2015; 63(8):935-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Further elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying lung cancer (LC) is essential for the development of new effective therapeutic agents. Recently, involvement of Wnt antagonists in oncogenesis has been demonstrated in several cancers. The investigation of their contribution to lung carcinogenesis is still under investigation. We aimed to investigate whether there is a susceptibility or preventive effect of Wnt antagonist gene polymorphisms on the development and/or prognosis of LC. We investigated 110 LC patients and 160 controls. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms of Wnt antagonist genes including DKK2 (rs17037102), DKK3 (rs3206824), DKK3 intron4 G/C (rs7396187), DKK4 (rs2073664), and sFRP4 (rs1802074) were analyzed using nested polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism. Results showed that patients with DKK3 AA compared with controls have a decreased risk of LC (adjusted for smoking habit, body mass index, and familial history) (P = 0.02; odds ratio [OR],0.08; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.01-0.7). It was found that, for sFRP4 polymorphism, patients with GG and GA genotypes versus AA genotype controls showed a decreased risk for LC (P = 0.01; [OR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.05-0.73 for GG genotype]; [OR = 0.18, 95% CI, 0.04-0.72 for GA genotype]). In addition, a decreased risk of LC was also found for the genotype combination of DKK3 (rs3206824) GG and sFRP4 AG + GG (P = 0.004; OR, 0.12; 95% CI, 0.02-0.58). We suggest that these 2 polymorphisms have a protective effect on LC in this study.

Liang J, Kang X, Halifu Y, et al.
Secreted frizzled-related protein promotors are hypermethylated in cutaneous squamous carcinoma compared with normal epidermis.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:641 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Wnt signaling pathway is abnormally activated in many human cancers. Secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs) function as negative regulators of Wnt signaling and play an important role in carcinogenesis. SFRP promoter hypermethylation has often been identified in human cancers; however, the precise role of SFRPs in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is unclear.
METHODS: The methylation status of the SFRP family was analyzed in an age-and sex-matched case-control study, including 40 cutaneous SCC cases and 40 normal controls, using the MassARRAY EpiTYPER system.
RESULTS: The methylation rate of SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, and SFRP5 promoters was significantly higher in cutaneous SCC tissues than in adjacent tissue and normal skin samples.
DISCUSSION: Our manuscript mainly discussed the average methylation rate of SFRPs (SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, and SFRP5) promoters are significantly high in tumor tissue samples and the average CpG island methylation rate among different pathological levels of cutaneous SCC between these genes are different.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that promoter hypermethylation of SFRPs is associated with the development of carcinoma, and could be a useful tumor marker for cutaneous SCC and other types of cancers.

Ge C, Wu S, Wang W, et al.
miR-942 promotes cancer stem cell-like traits in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma through activation of Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(13):10964-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway is known to play a vital role in the maintenance of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are reported to be the origin of malignant cancers, and result in poor prognosis of multiple kinds of cancer. Therefore, it is of great importance to illuminate the mechanism by which the Wnt/β-catenin pathway regulates the cancer stem cell-like traits in cancers. Here, we report that miR-942 is significantly upregulated in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and miR-942 levels are associated with poor prognosis in ESCC patients. Overexpression of miR-942 promotes, whereas inhibition of miR-942 decreases, the tumor sphere formation, the CD90+ subpopulation cells and the expression of pluripotency associated markers. Moreover, in vivo assay shows that miR-942 overexpressing cells form larger tumors and display higher tumourigenesis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that miR-942 upregulates the Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity via directly targeting sFRP4, GSK3β and TLE1, which are multiple level negative regulators of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascade. In addition, our results indicate that c-myc directly binds to the miR-942 promoter and promotes its expression. Taken together, our findings establish an oncogenic role of miR-942 in ESCC and indicate that miR-942 might be an effective therapeutic target for ESCC.

Saito T, Mitomi H, Imamhasan A, et al.
PTCH1 mutation is a frequent event in oesophageal basaloid squamous cell carcinoma.
Mutagenesis. 2015; 30(2):297-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma (BSCC) is a rare and poorly differentiated variant of typical squamous cell carcinoma, and is characterised in part by activation of the Wnt signalling pathway. We previously demonstrated that constitutive activation of the Wnt signalling pathway by epigenetic silencing of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4) is observed in this tumour. Increasing evidence shows that the Wnt signalling pathway cross-talks with other developmental pathways, including the Hedgehog (HH) pathway. The HH pathway is stimulated by inactivating mutations of PTCH1, which have a well-described oncogenic role in basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin. We employed polymerase chain reaction followed by direct sequencing to detect inactivating mutations of PTCH1 using archival tissue samples of 30 oesophageal BSCCs. The frequency of PTCH1 mutation was compared to that of Wnt component genes that we reported previously. We found PTCH1 mutations in 53.3% (16/30) of cases, revealing T1195S as a hotspot mutation. This frequency is quite high for cancers other than BCC of the skin, and PTCH1 mutations were almost mutually exclusive with mutations in APC, Axin1 and Axin2. Considering the fact that activation of Wnt signalling via down-regulation of APC and SFRP5 due to promoter methylation is observed in BCC of the skin, Wnt signalling activation in oesophageal BSCC might be a secondary effect of the PTCH1-inactivating mutations. These findings suggest that the HH and Wnt pathways coordinately contribute to tumourigenesis in oesophageal BSCC. Furthermore, this study provides a potential therapeutic application for HH pathway inhibitors in oesophageal BSCC with highly malignant potential.

Samaei NM, Yazdani Y, Alizadeh-Navaei R, et al.
Promoter methylation analysis of WNT/β-catenin pathway regulators and its association with expression of DNMT1 enzyme in colorectal cancer.
J Biomed Sci. 2014; 21:73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant DNA methylation as the most important reason making epigenetic silencing of genes is a main mechanism of gene inactivation in patients with colorectal cancer. In this study, we decided to identify promoter methylation status of ten genes encoding WNT negative regulators, and measure the expression of DNMT1 enzyme in colorectal cancer samples.
RESULTS: Aberrant methylation of APC gene was statistically significant associated with age over 50 (p = 0.017), DDK3 with male (p < 0.0001), SFRP4, WIF1, and WNT5a with increasing tumor stage (p = 0.004, p = 0.029, and p = 0.004), SFRP4 and WIF1 with tumor differentiation (p = 0.009 and p = 0.031) and SFRP2 and SFRP5 with histological type (p = 0.001 and p = 0.025). The increasing number of methylated genes correlated with the expression levels of the DNMT1 mRNA.
CONCLUSIONS: The rate of gene promoter methylation of WNT pathway regulators is high in colorectal cancer cells. Hyper-methylation is associated with increased expression of the DNMT1 enzyme.

Warrier S, Bhuvanalakshmi G, Arfuso F, et al.
Cancer stem-like cells from head and neck cancers are chemosensitized by the Wnt antagonist, sFRP4, by inducing apoptosis, decreasing stemness, drug resistance and epithelial to mesenchymal transition.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2014; 21(9):381-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are defined by high self-renewal and drug refractory potential. Involvement of Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been implicated in rapidly cycling cells such as CSCs, and inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is a novel approach to target CSCs from HNSCC. In this study, we found that an antagonist of FrzB/Wnt, the secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4), inhibited the growth of CSCs from two HNSCC cell lines, Hep2 and KB. We enriched the CD44(+) CSC population, and grew them in spheroid cultures. sFRP4 decreased the proliferation and increased the sensitivity of spheroids to a commonly used drug in HNSCC, namely cisplatin. Self-renewal in sphere formation assays decreased upon sFRP4 treatment, and the effect was reverted by the addition of Wnt3a. sFRP4 treatment of spheroids also decreased β-catenin, confirming its action through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Quantitative PCR demonstrated a clear decrease of the stemness markers CD44 and ALDH, and an increase in CD24 and drug-resistance markers ABCG2 and ABCC4. Furthermore, we found that after sFRP4 treatment, there was a reversal in the expression of epithelial to mesenchymal (EMT) markers with the restoration of the epithelial marker E-cadherin, and depletion of EMT-specific markers twist, snail and N-cadherin. This is the first report demonstrating that the naturally occurring Wnt inhibitor, sFRP4, can be a potential drug to destroy CSC-enriched spheroids from HNSCCs. The repression of EMT and the decrease in stemness profile further strengthen the use of sFRP4 as a potent therapeutic against CSCs.

Estrella JS, Ma LT, Milton DR, et al.
Expression of estrogen-induced genes and estrogen receptor β in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: implications for targeted therapy.
Pancreas. 2014; 43(7):996-1002 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The indolent nature and expression of progesterone receptor (PR), a well-known estrogen-induced gene, in a subset of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs), raise the possibility of hormonal regulation in these tumors.
METHODS: Immunohistochemical expression of estrogen receptors (ERs) α and β as well as messenger RNA expression of estrogen-induced genes (PR, EIG121, IGF-1, IGF-1R, sFRP1, and sFRP4) by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction were examined in 131 World Health Organization grade G1 and G2 PanNETs and correlated their expression with clinicopathological features.
RESULTS: Thirty-nine PanNETs (30%) showed high positive ERβ staining, and 87 cases (66%) had low positive ERβ staining; only 5 cases (4%) had no nuclear staining. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with small size (P = 0.02), low World Health Organization grade (P = 0.02), and low American Joint Committee on Cancer stage (P = 0.006) more frequently showed high positive ERβ staining. Among the estrogen-induced genes studied, PanNETs had significantly higher expression of PR, EIG121, IGF-1, sFRP1, and sFRP4 compared with normal pancreas, independent of age or sex. High positive ERβ staining was associated with an increased expression of PR (P < 0.001) and EIG121 (P = 0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that PanNETs with favorable prognostic features have higher ERβ expression, which is associated with up-regulated PR and EIG121 messenger RNA expression. Estrogen regulation in PanNETs could potentially help in risk stratification and provide a rational target for novel treatment strategies.

Schiefer L, Visweswaran M, Perumal V, et al.
Epigenetic regulation of the secreted frizzled-related protein family in human glioblastoma multiforme.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2014; 21(7):297-303 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are intracranial tumors of the central nervous system and the most lethal among solid tumors. Current therapy is palliative and is limited to surgical resection followed by radiation therapy and temozolomide treatment. Aberrant WNT pathway activation mediates not only cancer cell proliferation but also promotes radiation and chemotherapeutic resistance. WNT antagonists such as the secreted frizzled-related protein (sFRP) family have an ability to sensitize glioma cells to chemotherapeutics, decrease proliferation rate and induce apoptosis. During tumor development, sFRP genes (1-5) are frequently hypermethylated, causing transcriptional silencing. We investigated a possible involvement of methylation-mediated silencing of the sFRP gene family in human GBM using four human glioblastoma cell lines (U87, U138, A172 and LN18). To induce demethylation of the DNA, we inhibited DNA methyltransferases through treatment with 5-azacytidine. Genomic DNA, RNA and total protein were isolated from GBM cells before and after treatment. We utilized bisulfite modification of genomic DNA to examine the methylation status of the respective sFRP promoter regions. Pharmacological demethylation of the GBM cell lines demonstrated a loss of methylation in sFRP promoter regions, as well as an increase in sFRP gene-specific mRNA abundance. Western blot analysis demonstrated an increased protein expression of sFRP-4 and increased levels of phosphorylated-β-catenin. These data indicate an important role of methylation-induced gene silencing of the sFRP gene family in human GBM.

Murakami T, Mitomi H, Saito T, et al.
Distinct WNT/β-catenin signaling activation in the serrated neoplasia pathway and the adenoma-carcinoma sequence of the colorectum.
Mod Pathol. 2015; 28(1):146-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sessile serrated adenoma/polyp (SSA/P) is considered as an early precursor in the serrated neoplasia pathway leading to colorectal cancer development. The conventional adenoma-carcinoma sequence is associated with activation of the WNT signaling pathway, although its role in serrated lesions is still controversial. To clarify differences in WNT signaling activation in association with MLH1 methylation or BRAF/KRAS mutations between serrated and conventional routes, we performed β-catenin immunostaining, methylation-specific PCR for MLH1 and WNT signaling associated genes such as AXIN2, APC, and MCC and secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs), and direct sequencing of BRAF/KRAS in 27 SSA/Ps, 14 SSA/Ps with high-grade dysplasia and 9 SSA/Ps with submucosal carcinoma, as well as 19 conventional adenomas, 26 adenomas with high-grade dysplasia and 25 adenomas with submucosal carcinoma. Nuclear β-catenin labelings were significantly lower in the serrated series than in their adenoma counterparts, and a significant increment in those labelings was found from SSA/Ps to those with high-grade dysplasia or submucosal carcinoma. The frequency of MLH1 and SFRP4 methylation was significantly higher in SSA/P series, as compared with corresponding adenoma series. AXIN2 and MCC were more frequently methylated in SSA/Ps with high-grade dysplasia and those with submucosal carcinoma than in adenoma counterparts. Stepwise increment of AXIN2 and MCC methylation was identified from SSA/Ps through those with high-grade dysplasia to those with submucosal carcinoma. A significant correlation was seen between nuclear β-catenin expression and methylation of AXIN2 or MCC in the SSA/P series. BRAF mutation was more frequent, whereas KRAS mutation was less frequent in the SSA/P series as compared with the adenoma series. There was an inverse association of BRAF mutation with AXIN2 methylation in SSA/P series. In conclusion, WNT/β-catenin signal activation mediated by the methylation of SFRP4, MCC, and AXIN2 may make different contributions to colorectal neoplasia between the serrated and conventional routes.

Wu Y, Bai J, Li Z, et al.
Low expression of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 in aggressive pituitary adenoma.
Pituitary. 2015; 18(3):335-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The secreted frizzled-related proteins (sFRPs) are reported to be antagonists of a number of tumors. This study was designed to investigate the relationship of sFRP4 with aggressiveness of pituitary adenomas.
MATERIAL AND METHOD: Specimens were classified into three groups: normal control (n = 10), non-aggressive group (n = 42) and aggressive group (n = 26) according to preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/computed tomography. sFRP4 were investigated by PCR, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry (IHC). The methylation status of the sFRP4 promoter region was observed by MassArray. Cell culture and 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine treatment was performed to observe the relationship of downregulation of sFRP4 with methylation of the sFRP4 gene.
RESULTS: PCR and Western blot results showed that sFRP4 expression was downregulated in aggressive pituitary adenomas, which was confirmed by IHC. Methylation of the sFRP4 promoter was increased in aggressive pituitary adenomas. And methylation of the sFRP4 promoter lead to downregulation of sFRP4 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: sFRP4 expression is inversely related to the aggressiveness of pituitary adenomas, and act as a tumor suppressor.

Baboolal TG, Boxall SA, Churchman SM, et al.
Intrinsic multipotential mesenchymal stromal cell activity in gelatinous Heberden's nodes in osteoarthritis at clinical presentation.
Arthritis Res Ther. 2014; 16(3):R119 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Gelatinous Heberden's nodes (HNs), also termed synovial cysts, are a common form of generalized osteoarthritis (OA). We sought to determine whether HN cases at clinical presentation contained multipotential stromal cells (MSCs) and to explore whether such cells were more closely related to bone marrow (BM) or synovial fluid (SF) MSCs by transcriptional analysis.
METHODS: At clinical presentation, gelatinous material was extracted/extruded from the distal phalangeal joint of OA patients with HNs. From this, plastic adherent cells were culture-expanded for phenotypic and functional characterization and comparison with BM- and SF-MSCs. Mesenchymal related gene expression was studied by using a custom-designed TaqMan Low Density Array to determine transcriptional similarities between different MSC groups and skin fibroblasts.
RESULTS: In all cases, HN material produced MSC-like colonies. Adherent cultures displayed an MSC phenotype (CD29(+), CD44(+), CD73(+), CD81(+), and CD90(+) and CD14(-) CD19(-), CD31(-), CD34(-), CD45(-), and HLADR(-)) and exhibited osteogenic, chondrogenic lineage differentiation but weak adipogenesis. Gene cluster analysis showed that HN-MSCs were more closely related to SF- than normal or OA BM-MSCs with significantly higher expression of synovium-related gene markers such as bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP4), bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 1A (BMPR1A), protein/leucine-rich end leucine-rich repeat protein (PRELP), secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4), and tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced protein 6 (TNFAIP6) (P <0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Gelatinous HNs derived from hand OA at clinical presentation contain a population of MSCs that share transcriptional similarities with SF-derived MSCs. Their aberrant entrapment within the synovial cysts may impact on their normal role in joint homeostasis.

Wang L, Huang J, Jiang M, et al.
CAMK1 phosphoinositide signal-mediated protein sorting and transport network in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by biocomputation.
Cell Biochem Biophys. 2014; 70(2):1011-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
We data-analyzed and constructed the high-expression CAMK1 phosphoinositide signal-mediated protein sorting and transport network in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared with low-expression (fold change ≥ 2) no-tumor hepatitis/cirrhotic tissues (HBV or HCV infection) in GEO data set, using integration of gene regulatory network inference method with gene ontology (GO). Our result showed that CAMK1 transport subnetwork upstream KCNQ3, LCN2, NKX2_5, NUP62, SORT1, STX1A activated CAMK1, and downstream CAMK1-activated AFP, ENAH, KPNA2, SLC4A3; CAMK1 signal subnetwork upstream BRCA1, DKK1, GPSM2, LEF1, NR5A1, NUP62, SORT1, SSTR5, TBL3 activated CAMK1, and downstream CAMK1-activated MAP2K6, SFRP4, SSTR5, TSHB, UBE2C in HCC. We proposed that CAMK1 activated network enhanced endosome to lysosome transport, endosome transport via multivesicular body sorting pathway, Golgi to endosome transport, intracellular protein transmembrane transport, intracellular protein transport, ion transport, mRNA transport, plasma membrane to endosome transport, potassium ion transport, protein transport, vesicle-mediated transport, anion transport, intracellular transport, androgen receptor signaling pathway, cell surface receptor-linked signal transduction, hormone-mediated signaling, induction of apoptosis by extracellular signals, signal transduction by p53 class mediator resulting in transcription of p21 class mediator, signal transduction resulting in induction of apoptosis, phosphoinositide-mediated signaling, Wnt receptor signaling pathway, as a result of inducing phosphoinositide signal-mediated protein sorting, and transport in HCC. Our hypothesis was verified by CAMK1 functional regulation subnetwork containing positive regulation of calcium ion transport via voltage gated calcium channel, cell proliferation, DNA repair, exocytosis, I-kappaB kinase/NF-kappaB cascade, immunoglobulin-mediated immune response, mast cell activation, natural killer cell-mediated cytotoxicity directed against tumor cell target, protein ubiquitination, sodium ion transport, survival gene product activity, T cell-mediated cytotoxicity, transcription, transcription from RNA polymerase II promoter, transcription initiation from RNA polymerase II promoter, transcription via serum response element binding, exit from mitosis, ubiquitin ligase activity during mitotic cell cycle, regulation of angiogenesis, apoptosis, cell growth, cell proliferation, cyclin-dependent protein kinase activity, gene expression, insulin secretion, steroid biosynthesis, transcription from RNA polymerase II promoter, transcription from RNA polymerase III promoter, cell cycle, cell migration, DNA recombination, and protein metabolism; also by CAMK1 negative functional regulation subnetwork including negative regulation of apoptosis, cell proliferation, centriole replication, fatty acid biosynthesis, lipoprotein lipase activity, MAPK activity, progression through cell cycle, transcription, transcription from RNA polymerase II promoter, cell growth, phosphorylation, and ubiquitin ligase activity during mitotic cell cycle in HCC.

Brebi P, Hoffstetter R, Andana A, et al.
Evaluation of ZAR1 and SFRP4 methylation status as potentials biomarkers for diagnosis in cervical cancer: exploratory study phase I.
Biomarkers. 2014; 19(3):181-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Aberrant hypermethylation of promoter region of tumor suppressor genes could be used as cancer biomarkers.
OBJECTIVE: To test methylation status of ZAR1 and SFRP4 promoter regions as potentials biomarkers for diagnosis of preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of cervix.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cytobrush samples were evaluated by Methylation specific PCR (MSP) and quantitative MSP (qMSP).
RESULTS: ZAR1 and SFRP4 methylation frequency increased as the grade of lesion increased and the differences between normal and cervical cancer (CC) are statistically significant (p < 0.0001). qMSP showed higher ZAR1 and SFRP4 methylation levels in cancer than normal epithelia (p < 0.001) and preneoplastics lesions (p < 0.01).
DISCUSSION: qMSP quantify methylation levels and have high sensitivity and specificity.
CONCLUSION: ZAR1 and SFRP4 qMSP could be used as potential biomarker for CC diagnosis.

Al-Shabanah OA, Hafez MM, Hassan ZK, et al.
Methylation of SFRPs and APC genes in ovarian cancer infected with high risk human papillomavirus.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014; 15(6):2719-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Secreted frizzled-related protein (SFRP) genes, new tumor suppressor genes, are negative regulators of the Wnt pathway whose alteration is associated with various tumors. In ovarian cancer, SFRPs genes promoter methylation can lead to gene inactivation. This study investigated mechanisms of SFRP and adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) genes silencing in ovarian cancer infected with high risk human papillomavirus.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: DNA was extracted from 200 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded ovarian cancer and their normal adjacent tissues (NAT) and DNA methylation was detected by methylation specific PCR (MSP). High risk human papillomavirus (HPV) was detected by nested PCR with consensus primers to amplify a broad spectrum of HPV genotypes.
RESULTS: The percentages of SFRP and APC genes with methylation were significantly higher in ovarian cancer tissues infected with high risk HPV compared to NAT. The methylated studied genes were associated with suppression in their gene expression.
CONCLUSION: This finding highlights the possible role of the high risk HPV virus in ovarian carcinogenesis or in facilitating cancer progression by suppression of SFRP and APC genes via DNA methylation.

García-Baquero R, Puerta P, Beltran M, et al.
Methylation of tumor suppressor genes in a novel panel predicts clinical outcome in paraffin-embedded bladder tumors.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(6):5777-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA methylation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) represents a frequent and early epigenetic event with potential applications for cancer detection and disease evolution. Our aim was to examine the stratification and prognostic biomarker role of the methylation of a novel panel of TSGs in bladder cancer. The methylation status of 18 TSGs was evaluated in bladder cancer cells (n=14) and paraffin-embedded primary bladder tumors (n=61), using a methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay (MS-MLPA). Recurrence, progression, and disease-specific survival were analyzed using univariate and multivariate Cox models. PRDM2, HLTF, ID4, DLC1, BNIP3, H2AFX, CACNA1G, TGIF, and CACNA1A were discovered methylated in bladder cancer. The methylation of RUNX3 (p=0.026), TWIST1 (p=0.009), SFRP4 (p=0.002), and CCND2 (p=0.027) correlated to tumor stage. Univariate analyses indicated prognostic associations for recurrence (DLC1, SFRP5, H2AFX, CACNA1G), progression (DLC1, SFRP5, CACNA1G), disease-specific (PRDM2, DLC1, SFRP5, CACNA1G, and TIMP3), and overall survival (SFRP5 and TIMP3). In multivariate analyses, several TSGs remained as independent prognosticators for recurrence (SFRP5, H2AFX), progression (CACNA1G), and disease-specific survival (SFRP5). Thus, a novel set of TSGs was identified, frequently methylated in bladder cancer cells and tumors. TSG methylation allowed histopathologic and outcome stratification using paraffin-embedded tumors. This is clinically relevant by offering a strategy for the management of patients affected with uroepithelial neoplasias in pathology routine laboratories.

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

Psyrri A, Kotoula V, Fountzilas E, et al.
Prognostic significance of the Wnt pathway in squamous cell laryngeal cancer.
Oral Oncol. 2014; 50(4):298-305 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine the prognostic significance of the Wnt signaling pathway in operable squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In an annotated cohort of 289 operable laryngeal cancers we evaluated the prognostic impact of E-cadherin, P-cadherin and β-catenin protein expression with immunohistochemistry, as well as the mRNA expression of 7 key effectors of the Wnt pathway including secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4), SNAI2 (SLUG) and WNT5A with qPCR (relative quantification [RQ]).
RESULTS: Using median immunoreactive scores as a pre-defined cut-off, patients whose tumors overexpressed both cytoplasmic E-cadherin and β-catenin experienced longer median OS as compared to those whose tumors overexpressed β-catenin only (median OS 124 vs. 72 months, p=0.0301) and patients whose tumors overexpressed both cytoplasmic and membranous E-cadherin experienced longer DFS as compared to those whose tumors overexpressed cytoplasmic E-cadherin only (median 118 vs. 91 months, p=0.0106). Upon hierarchical clustering of SFRP4, SNAI2 and WNT5A RQ values, profiles including co-expression of all 3 genes but also profiles with under-expression of SNAI2 and WNT5A were associated with worse outcome as compared to profiles not related to the Wnt pathway. In multivariate analysis, clustering was an independent predictor for DFS (p=0.0221) and OS (p=0.0077).
CONCLUSION: We identified gene expression profiles and IHC patterns associated with aberrant Wnt signaling conferring aggressive clinical behavior in operable squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx. Prospective validation of these results will determine whether targeting the Wnt pathway merits investigation in this disease.

Warrier S, Balu SK, Kumar AP, et al.
Wnt antagonist, secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4), increases chemotherapeutic response of glioma stem-like cells.
Oncol Res. 2013; 21(2):93-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant gliomas have a highly tumorigenic subpopulation, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), that drives tumor formation and proliferation. CSCs possess inherent resistance mechanisms against radiation- and chemotherapy-induced cancer cell death, enabling them to survive and initiate tumor recurrence. We examined the effect of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4), a Wnt signaling antagonist, in chemosensitizing the glioma cell line U138MG and glioma stem cells (GSCs) enriched from U138MG to chemotherapeutics. We found that sFRP4 alone and in combination with either doxorubicin or cisplatin induced apoptosis. Proliferation decreased substantially in GSC-enriched population as measured by MTT and BrdU assays. JC-1 and caspase-3 assays demonstrated that cell death was through the apoptotic pathway. sFRP4 treatment also decreased neurosphere formation and induced neuronal differentiation. Inhibition by sFRP4 was abolished by Wnt3a, indicating that sFRP4 acts through the frizzled receptor. Further indication that sFRP4 acts through the Wnt β-catenin pathway was provided by decrease in the β-catenin protein and decrease in the β-catenin-stimulated gene cyclin D1 upon sFRP4 induction. By real-time PCR, an increase in apoptotic markers Bax and p21, a decrease in pro-proliferative marker CycD1, and a decrease in the GSC marker CD133 were observed. These observations indicate that sFRP4 is able to sensitize glioma cells and stem cells to chemotherapeutics. We thus identified for the first time that sFRP4 could help to destroy cancer stem cells of glioma cell line, which would lead to effective treatment regimen to combat brain tumors.

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

Goeppert B, Konermann C, Schmidt CR, et al.
Global alterations of DNA methylation in cholangiocarcinoma target the Wnt signaling pathway.
Hepatology. 2014; 59(2):544-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The molecular mechanisms underlying the genesis of cholangiocarcinomas (CCs) are poorly understood. Epigenetic changes such as aberrant hypermethylation and subsequent atypical gene expression are characteristic features of most human cancers. In CC, data regarding global methylation changes are lacking so far. We performed a genome-wide analysis for aberrant promoter methylation in human CCs. We profiled 10 intrahepatic and 8 extrahepatic CCs in comparison to non-neoplastic biliary tissue specimens, using methyl-CpG immunoprecipitation (MCIp) combined with whole-genome CpG island arrays. DNA methylation was confirmed by quantitative mass spectrometric analysis and functional relevance of promoter hypermethylation was shown in demethylation experiments of two CC cell lines using 5-aza-2'deoxycytidine (DAC) treatment. Immunohistochemical staining of tissue microarrays (TMAs) from 223 biliary tract cancers (BTCs) was used to analyze candidate gene expression at the protein level. Differentially methylated, promoter-associated regions were nonrandomly distributed and enriched for genes involved in cancer-related pathways including Wnt, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), and PI3K signaling pathways. In CC cell lines, silencing of genes involved in Wnt signaling, such as SOX17, WNT3A, DKK2, SFRP1, SFRP2, and SFRP4 was reversed after DAC administration. Candidate protein SFRP2 was substantially down-regulated in neoplastic tissues of all BTC subtypes as compared to normal tissues. A significant inverse correlation of SFRP2 protein expression and pT status was found in BTC patients.
CONCLUSION: We provide a comprehensive analysis to define the genome-wide methylation landscape of human CC. Several candidate genes of cancer-relevant signaling pathways were identified, and closer analysis of selected Wnt pathway genes confirmed the relevance of this pathway in CC. The presented global methylation data are the basis for future studies on epigenetic changes in cholangiocarcinogenesis.

Piltonen TT, Chen J, Erikson DW, et al.
Mesenchymal stem/progenitors and other endometrial cell types from women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) display inflammatory and oncogenic potential.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 98(9):3765-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CONTEXT: Endometrium in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) presents altered gene expression indicating progesterone resistance and predisposing to reduced endometrial receptivity and endometrial cancer.
OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that an altered endocrine/metabolic environment in PCOS may result in an endometrial "disease phenotype" affecting the gene expression of different endometrial cell populations, including stem cells and their differentiated progeny.
DESIGN AND SETTING: This was a prospective study conducted at an academic medical center.
PATIENTS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proliferative-phase endometrium was obtained from 6 overweight/obese PCOS (National Institutes of Health criteria) and 6 overweight/obese controls. Microarray analysis was performed on fluorescence-activated cell sorting-isolated endometrial epithelial cells (eEPs), endothelial cells, stromal fibroblasts (eSFs), and mesenchymal stem cells (eMSCs). Gene expression data were validated using microfluidic quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: The comparison between eEP(PCOS) and eEP(Ctrl) showed dysregulation of inflammatory genes and genes with oncogenic potential (CCL2, IL-6, ORM1, TNAIFP6, SFRP4, SPARC). eSF(PCOS) and eSF(Ctrl) showed up-regulation of inflammatory genes (C4A/B, CCL2, ICAM1, TNFAIP3). Similarly, in eMSC(PCOS) vs eMSC(Ctrl), the most up-regulated genes were related to inflammation and cancer (IL-8, ICAM1, SPRR3, LCN2). Immunohistochemistry scoring showed increased expression of CCL2 in eEP(PCOS) and eSF(PCOS) compared with eEP(Ctrl) and eSF(Ctrl) and IL-6 in eEP(PCOS) compared with eEP(Ctrl).
CONCLUSIONS: Isolated endometrial cell populations in women with PCOS showed altered gene expression revealing inflammation and prooncogenic changes, independent of body mass index, especially in eEP(PCOS) and eMSC(PCOS), compared with controls. The study reveals an endometrial disease phenotype in women with PCOS with potential negative effects on endometrial function and long-term health.

Páez D, Gerger A, Zhang W, et al.
Association of common gene variants in the WNT/β-catenin pathway with colon cancer recurrence.
Pharmacogenomics J. 2014; 14(2):142-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling has a central role in the development and progression of most colon cancers (CCs). Germline variants in Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes may result in altered gene function and/or activity, thereby causing inter-individual differences in relation to tumor recurrence capacity and chemoresistance. We investigated germline polymorphisms in a comprehensive panel of Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes to predict time to tumor recurrence (TTR) in patients with stage III and high-risk stage II CC. A total of 234 patients treated with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy were included in this study. Whole-blood samples were analyzed for putative functional germline polymorphisms in SFRP3, SFRP4, DKK2, DKK3, Axin2, APC, TCF7L2, WNT5B, CXXC4, NOTCH2 and GLI1 genes by PCR-based restriction fragment-length polymorphism or direct DNA sequencing. Polymorphisms with statistical significance were validated in an independent study cohort. The minor allele of WNT5B rs2010851 T>G was significantly associated with a shorter TTR (10.7 vs 4.9 years; hazard ratio: 2.48; 95% CI, 0.96-6.38; P=0.04) in high-risk stage II CC patients. This result remained significant in multivariate Cox's regression analysis. This study shows that the WNT5B germline variant rs2010851 was significantly identified as a stage-dependent prognostic marker for CC patients after 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant therapy.

Huang X, Hao C, Shen X, et al.
Differences in the transcriptional profiles of human cumulus cells isolated from MI and MII oocytes of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Reproduction. 2013; 145(6):597-608 [PubMed] Related Publications
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine and metabolic disorder in women. The abnormalities of endocrine and intra-ovarian paracrine interactions may change the microenvironment for oocyte development during the folliculogenesis process and reduce the developmental competence of oocytes in PCOS patients who are suffering from anovulatory infertility and pregnancy loss. In this microenvironment, the cross talk between an oocyte and the surrounding cumulus cells (CCs) is critical for achieving oocyte competence. The aim of our study was to investigate the gene expression profiles of CCs obtained from PCOS patients undergoing IVF cycles in terms of oocyte maturation by using human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 microarrays. A total of 59 genes were differentially expressed in two CC groups. Most of these genes were identified to be involved in one or more of the following pathways: receptor interactions, calcium signaling, metabolism and biosynthesis, focal adhesion, melanogenesis, leukocyte transendothelial migration, Wnt signaling, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. According to the different expression levels in the microarrays and their putative functions, six differentially expressed genes (LHCGR, ANGPTL1, TNIK, GRIN2A, SFRP4, and SOCS3) were selected and analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). The qRT-PCR results were consistent with the microarray data. Moreover, the molecular signatures (LHCGR, TNIK, and SOCS3) were associated with developmental potential from embryo to blastocyst stage and were proposed as biomarkers of embryo viability in PCOS patients. Our results may be clinically important as they offer a new potential strategy for competent oocyte/embryo selection in PCOS patients.

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