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Cancer Res. 2002 Jun 15;62(12):3503-6.

beta-Catenin mutation is a frequent cause of Wnt pathway activation in gastric cancer.

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  • 1University of Cincinnati Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, Ohio 45219, USA.


Studies of Wnt activation in gastric cancer have yielded conflicting results. The goals of this study were to determine the frequency of Wnt pathway activation and beta-catenin mutation in these tumors. Three hundred eleven gastric cancers were examined for beta-catenin expression by immunostaining and dissected using laser capture microscopy to obtain DNA from those tumors with nuclear beta-catenin. Exon 3 of beta-catenin was amplified using PCR and sequenced. Ninety gastric cancers (29%) displayed nuclear beta-catenin. DNAs from 73 tumors were amplified and sequenced; 19 (26%) contained mutations in exon 3 of beta-catenin, whereas no mutations were detected in 19 tumors negative for beta-catenin nuclear staining (P < 0.05). Most mutations were adjacent to or abolished known regulatory phosphorylation sites. Mutations in exon 3 of beta-catenin are common in gastric cancer that display nuclear beta-catenin. These results suggest that Wnt pathway activation contributes to carcinogenesis in a subset of gastric adenocarcinomas.

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