C-Myc transforms human mammary epithelial cells through repression of the Wnt inhibitors DKK1 and SFRP1.
ABSTRACT: c-myc is frequently amplified in breast cancer; however, the mechanism of myc-induced mammary epithelial cell transformation has not been defined. We show that c-Myc induces a profound morphological transformation in human mammary epithelial cells and anchorage-independent growth. c-Myc suppresses the Wnt inhibitors DKK1 and SFRP1, and derepression of DKK1 or SFRP1 reduces Myc-dependent transforming activity. Myc-dependent repression of DKK1 and SFRP1 is accompanied by Wnt target gene activation and endogenous T-cell factor activity. Myc-induced mouse mammary tumors have repressed SFRP1 and increased expression of Wnt target genes. DKK1 and SFRP1 inhibit the transformed phenotype of breast cancer cell lines, and DKK1 inhibits tumor formation. We propose a positive feedback loop for activation of the c-myc and Wnt pathways in breast cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs) are a family of proteins that block the Wnt signaling pathway and loss of Sfrp1 expression is observed in breast cancer. The molecular mechanisms by which obesity contributes to breast tumorigenesis are not well defined, but involve increased inflammation. Mice deficient in Sfrp1 show enhanced mammary gland inflammation in response to diet induced obesity (DIO). Furthermore, mammary glands from Sfrp1-/- mice exhibit increased Wnt signaling, decreased cell death responses, and excessive hyper branching. The work described here was initiated to investigate whether obesity exacerbates the aforementioned pathways, as they each play a key roles in the development of breast cancer. FINDINGS: Wnt signaling is significantly affected by DIO and Sfrp1-/- loss as revealed by analysis of Myc mRNA expression and active ?-catenin protein expression. Furthermore, Sfrp1-/- mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) exhibit an increase in mammary cell proliferation. The death response is also impaired in the mammary gland of Sfrp1-/- mice fed a normal diet (ND) as well as a HFD. In response to ?-irradiation, mammary glands from Sfrp1-/- mice express significantly less Bax and Bbc3 mRNA, caspase-3 positive cells, and p53 protein. The expression of Wnt4 and Tnfs11 are critical for normal progesterone mediated mammary gland development and in response to obesity, Sfrp1-/- mice express significantly more Wnt4 and Tnfs11 mRNA expression. Evaluation of progesterone receptor (PR) expression showed that DIO increases the number of PR positive cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that the expression of Sfrp1 is a critical factor required for maintaining appropriate cellular homeostasis in response to the onset of obesity.
Project description:Aberrant activation of canonical Wnt signaling is a hallmark event in colorectal carcinogenesis. The Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) and Secreted Frizzled Related Protein 1 (SFRP1) genes encode extracellular inhibitors of Wnt signaling that are frequently silenced by promoter hypermethylation in colorectal cancer (CRC). These methylation events have been identified as prognostic markers of patient outcome and tumor subtype in several cancers but similar roles in CRC have not been comprehensively examined. In CRC, the microsatellite instability (MSI) subtype associates with favorable disease outcome but the molecular events that are responsible remain poorly understood. Consequently, we quantified promoter methylation status of the Wnt antagonist genes DKK1 and SFRP1 in a large population-based cohort of CRCs from Ontario (n = 549) and Newfoundland (n = 696) stratified by MSI status. We examined the association between methylation status and clinicopathological features including tumor MSI status and patient survival. DKK1 and SFRP1 were methylated in 13 and 95% of CRCs, respectively. In Ontario, DKK1 methylation was strongly associated with MSI tumors after adjustment for age, sex and tumor location [odds ratio (OR) = 13.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 7.8-24.2, P < 0.001]. Conversely, SFRP1 methylation was inversely associated with MSI tumors after these adjustments (OR = 0.3, 95% CI = 0.1-0.9, P = 0.009). Similar results were obtained in Newfoundland. There were no independent associations with recurrence-free survival. This is the first large study to identify associations between Wnt antagonist promoter hypermethylation and CRC MSI subtype. These events provide insight into subtype-specific epigenetic mediation of Wnt signaling in CRC.
Project description:Recently, we analysed the 8p11-12 genomic region for copy number and gene expression changes in a panel of human breast cancer cell lines and primary specimens. We found that SFRP1 (Secreted frizzled related protein 1) is frequently under expressed even in breast tumours with copy number increases in this genomic region. SFRP1 encodes a WNT signalling antagonist, and plays a role in the development of multiple solid tumour types. In this study, we analysed methylation-associated silencing of the SFRP1 gene in breast cancer cells with the 8p11-12 amplicon, and investigated the tumour suppressor properties of SFRP1 in breast cancer cells. SFRP1 expression was markedly reduced in both the breast cancer cell lines and primary tumour specimens relative to normal primary human mammary epithelial cells even when SFRP1 is amplified. Suppression of SFRP1 expression in breast cancer cells with an SFRP1 gene amplification is associated with SFRP1 promoter methylation. Furthermore, restoration of SFRP1 expression suppressed the growth of breast cancer cells in monolayer, and inhibited anchorage independent growth. We also examined the relationship between the silencing of SFRP1 gene and WNT signalling in breast cancer. Ectopic SFRP1 expression in breast cancer cells suppressed both canonical and non-canonical WNT signalling pathways, and SFRP1 expression was negatively associated with the expression of a subset of WNT responsive genes including RET and MSX2. Thus, down-regulation of SFRP1 can be triggered by epigenetic and/or genetic events and may contribute to the tumourigenesis of human breast cancer through both canonical and non-canonical WNT signalling pathways.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Wnt family of secreted proteins is implicated in the regulation of cell fate during development, as well as in cell proliferation, morphology, and migration. Aberrant activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway leads to the development of several human cancers, including breast cancer. Secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1) antagonizes this pathway by competing with the Frizzled receptor for Wnt ligands resulting in an attenuation of the signal transduction cascade. Loss of SFRP1 expression is observed in breast cancer, along with several other cancers, and is associated with poor patient prognosis. However, it is not clear whether the loss of SFRP1 expression predisposes the mammary gland to tumorigenesis. RESULTS: When SFRP1 is knocked down in a non-malignant immortalized mammary epithelial cell line (76 N TERT), nuclear levels of beta-catenin rise and the Wnt pathway is stimulated. The SFRP1 knockdown cells exhibit increased expression of the pro-proliferative Cyclin D1 gene and increased cellular proliferation, undergo a partial epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), are resistant to anchorage-independent cell death, exhibit increased migration, are significantly more invasive, and exhibit a CD24low/CD44high cell surface marker expression pattern. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that loss of SFRP1 allows non-malignant cells to acquire characteristics associated with breast cancer cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Transforming growth factor (TGF)-? plays a dual role during mammary gland development and tumorigenesis and has been shown to stimulate epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as well as cellular migration. The Wnt/?-catenin pathway is also implicated in EMT and inappropriate activation of the Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway leads to the development of several human cancers, including breast cancer. Secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1) antagonizes this pathway and loss of SFRP1 expression is frequently observed in breast tumors and breast cancer cell lines. We previously showed that when SFRP1 is knocked down in immortalized non-malignant mammary epithelial cells, the cells (TERT-siSFRP1) acquire characteristics associated with breast tumor initiating cells. The phenotypic and genotypic changes that occur in response to SFRP1 loss are consistent with EMT, including a substantial increase in the expression of ZEB2. Considering that ZEB2 has been shown to interact with mediators of TGF-? signaling, we sought to determine whether TGF-? signaling is altered in TERT-siSFRP1 cells. METHODS: Luciferase reporter assays and real-time PCR analysis were employed to measure TGF-? transcriptional targets. Western blot analysis was used to evaluate TGF-?-mediated ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Migration chamber assays were utilized to quantify cellular migration. TERT-siSFRP1 cells were transfected with Stealth RNAi™ siRNA in order to knock-down the expression of ZEB2. RESULTS: TERT-siSFRP1 cells exhibit a significant increase in both TGF-?-mediated luciferase activity as well as TGF-? transcriptional targets, including Integrin ?3 and PAI-1. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 is increased in TERT-siSFRP1 cells in response to enhanced TGF-? signaling. Furthermore, when the TGF-? pathway is blocked with a TGF-?R antagonist (LY364947), cellular migration is significantly hindered. Finally, we found that when ZEB2 is knocked-down, there is a significant reduction in the expression of exogeneous and endogenous TGF-? transcriptional targets and cellular migration is impeded. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that down-regulation of SFRP1 renders mammary epithelial cells more sensitive to TGF-? signaling which can be partially ameliorated by blocking the expression of ZEB2.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: In breast cancer, deregulation of the WNT signaling pathway occurs by autocrine mechanisms. WNT ligands and Frizzled receptors are coexpressed in primary breast tumors and cancer cell lines. Moreover, many breast tumors show hypermethylation of the secreted Frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP1) promoter region, causing low expression of this WNT antagonist. We have previously shown that the WNT pathway influences proliferation of breast cancer cell lines via activation of canonical signaling and epidermal growth factor receptor transactivation, and that interference with WNT signaling reduces proliferation. Here we examine the role of WNT signaling in breast tumor cell migration and on xenograft outgrowth. METHODS: The breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 was used to study WNT signaling. We examined the effects of activating or blocking the WNT pathway on cell motility by treatment with WNT ligands or by ectopic sFPR1 expression, respectively. The ability of sFRP1-expressing MDA-MB-231 cells to grow as xenografts was also tested. Microarray analyses were carried out to identify targets with roles in MDA-MB-231/sFRP1 tumor growth inhibition. RESULTS: We show that WNT stimulates the migratory ability of MDA-MB-231 cells. Furthermore, ectopic expression of sFRP1 in MDA-MB-231 cells blocks canonical WNT signaling and decreases their migratory potential. Moreover, the ability of MDA-MB-231/sFRP1-expressing cells to grow as xenografts in mammary glands and to form lung metastases is dramatically impaired. Microarray analyses led to the identification of two genes, CCND1 and CDKN1A, whose expression level is selectively altered in vivo in sFRP1-expressing tumors. The encoded proteins cyclin D1 and p21Cip1 were downregulated and upregulated, respectively, in sFRP1-expressing tumors, suggesting that they are downstream mediators of WNT signaling. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the WNT pathway influences multiple biological properties of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. WNT stimulates tumor cell motility; conversely sFRP1-mediated WNT pathway blockade reduces motility. Moreover, ectopic sFRP1 expression in MDA-MB-231 cells has a strong negative impact on tumor outgrowth and blocked lung metastases. These results suggest that interference with WNT signaling using sFRP1 to block the ligand- receptor interaction may be a valid therapeutic approach in breast cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Wingless and integration site growth factor (Wnt) signaling is a tumorigenesis-related signaling pathway. Dickkpof-1 (DKK1) and secreted frizzled-related protein-1 (SFRP1) are endogenous negative regulators of Wnt/?-catenin signaling. Accumulating evidence indicates that higher serum levels of DKK1 are correlated with poor prognosis of various types of cancer. Here, we investigated whether exercise training causes changes in the serum levels of DKK1 and SFRP1 in patients with breast cancer. METHODS:Twenty-four breast cancer survivors, after chemo- or radiotherapy, participated in this single-blind randomized, controlled pilot study. Subjects were randomized to either an exercise program or a control group for 12 weeks and completed pre- and post-training tests for health-related fitness and body composition as well as blood biomarkers. The serum levels of DKK1 and SFRP1 were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as the primary outcome. RESULTS:Exercise training for 12 weeks remarkably increased muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility and decreased body fat percentage, waist circumference, and visceral fat area (all p < 0.05). Exercise training lowered serum insulin levels and leptin/adiponectin ratios (all p < 0.05). The levels of DKK1 and SFRP1 were also significantly decreased by exercise training in breast cancer survivors (all p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS:Our results indicate that DKK1 and SFRP1 may be potentially useful biomarkers for evaluating the beneficial effects of long-term exercise on physical fitness and metabolism as well as the prognosis of patients with cancer. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02895178.
Project description:The Wingless (Wnt)-mediated signals are involved in many important aspects of development of the mammalian cerebral cortex. How Wnts interact with their modulators in cortical development is still unclear. Here, we show that Wnt7a and secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (Sfrp1), a soluble modulator of Wnts, are co-expressed in mouse embryonic cortical neural progenitors (NPs). Knockout of Wnt7a in mice causes microcephaly due to reduced NP population and neurogenesis, and Sfrp1 has an opposing effect compared to Wnt7a. Similar to Dkk1, Sfrp1 decreases the Wnt1 and Wnt7a activity in vitro. Our results suggest that Wnt7a and Sfrp1 play opposite roles to ensure proper NP progeny in the developing cortex.
Project description:Secreted frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1) functions as an important inhibitor of the Wnt pathway and is a known tumor suppressor gene, which is epigenetically silenced in a variety of tumors e.g. in breast cancer. However, it is still unclear how SFRP1 exactly affects the Wnt pathway. Our aim was to decipher SFRP1 involvement in biochemical signaling in dependency of different breast cancer subtypes and to identify novel SFRP1-regulated genes. We generated SFRP1 over-expressing in vitro breast cancer models, reflecting the two major subtypes by using basal-like BT20 and luminal-like HER2-positive SKBR3 cells. DNA microarray expression profiling of these models revealed that SFRP1 expression potentially modulates Bone morphogenetic protein- and Smoothened signaling (p<0.01), in addition to the known impact on Wnt signaling. Importantly, further statistical analysis revealed that in dependency of the cancer subtype model SFRP1 may affect the canonical and non-canonical Wnt pathway (p<0.01), respectively. While SFRP1 re-expression generally mediated distinct patterns of transcriptionally induced or repressed genes in BT20 and SKBR3 cells, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was identified as a SFRP1 induced gene in both cell lines. Although BDNF has been postulated as a putative oncogene, the co-regulation with SFRP1 indicates a potential suppressive function in breast cancer. Indeed, a positive correlation between SFRP1 and BDNF protein expression could be shown (p<0.001) in primary breast cancer samples. Moreover, TCGA dataset based analysis clearly underscores that BDNF mRNA is down-regulated in primary breast cancer samples predicting a poor prognosis of these patients. In line, we functionally provide evidence that stable BDNF re-expression in basal-like BT20 breast cancer cells blocks tumor cell proliferation. Hence, our results suggest that BDNF might rather mediate suppressive than promoting function in human breast cancer whose mode of action should be addressed in future studies.
Project description:Although mutation of APC or CTNNB1 (beta-catenin) is rare in breast cancer, activation of Wnt signalling is nonetheless thought to play an important role in breast tumorigenesis, and epigenetic silencing of Wnt antagonist genes, including the secreted frizzled-related protein (SFRP) and Dickkopf (DKK) families, has been observed in various tumours. In breast cancer, frequent methylation and silencing of SFRP1 was recently documented; however, altered expression of other Wnt antagonist genes is largely unknown. In the present study, we found frequent methylation of SFRP family genes in breast cancer cell lines (SFRP1, 7 out of 11, 64%; SFRP2, 11 out of 11, 100%; SFRP5, 10 out of 11, 91%) and primary breast tumours (SFRP1, 31 out of 78, 40%; SFRP2, 60 out of 78, 77%; SFRP5, 55 out of 78, 71%). We also observed methylation of DKK1, although less frequently, in cell lines (3 out of 11, 27%) and primary tumours (15 out of 78, 19%). Breast cancer cell lines express various Wnt ligands, and overexpression of SFRPs inhibited cancer cell growth. In addition, overexpression of a beta-catenin mutant and depletion of SFRP1 using small interfering RNA synergistically upregulated transcriptional activity of T-cell factor/lymphocyte enhancer factor. Our results confirm the frequent methylation and silencing of Wnt antagonist genes in breast cancer, and suggest that their loss of function contributes to activation of Wnt signalling in breast carcinogenesis.