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10.1186_1756-9966-30-96.pdf (774.48 kB)

HGF/c-Met related activation of β-catenin in hepatoblastoma

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-12-06, 13:31 authored by R. Purcell, Margaret Childs, R. Maibach, C. Miles, C. Turner, A. Zimmermann, M. Sullivan
Background: Activation of beta-catenin is a hallmark of hepatoblastoma (HB) and appears to play a crucial role in its pathogenesis. While aberrant accumulation of the beta-catenin is a common event in HB, mutations or deletions in CTNNB1 (beta-catenin gene) do not always account for the high frequency of protein expression. In this study we have investigated alternative activation of beta-catenin by HGF/c-Met signaling in a large cohort of 98 HB patients enrolled in the SIOPEL-3 clinical trial. Methods: We performed immunohistochemistry, using antibodies to total beta-catenin and tyrosine654-phosphorylated beta-catenin, which is a good surrogate marker of HGF/c-Met activation. CTNNB1 mutation analysis was also carried out on all samples. We also investigated beta-catenin pathway activation in two liver cancer cell lines, HuH-6 and HuH-7. Results: Aberrant beta-catenin expression was seen in the cytoplasm and/or nucleus of 87% of tumour samples. Our results also revealed a large subset of HB, 83%, with cytoplasmic expression of tyrosine654-phosphorylated beta-catenin and 30% showing additional nuclear accumulation. Sequence analysis revealed mutations in 15% of our cohort. Statistical analysis showed an association between nuclear expression of c-Met-activated beta-catenin and wild type CTNNB1 (P-value = 0.015). Analysis of total beta-catenin and Y654-beta-catenin in response to HGF activation in the cell lines, mirrors that observed in our HB tumour cohort. Results: We identified a significant subset of hepatoblastoma patients for whom targeting of the c-Met pathway may be a treatment option and also demonstrate distinct mechanisms of beta-catenin activation in HB.



Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, 2011, 30 : 96


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