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Cancer Res. 2006 Nov 1;66(21):10439-48.

Expression of Wnt-5a is correlated with aggressiveness of gastric cancer by stimulating cell migration and invasion.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.


Wnt-5a is a representative ligand that activates a beta-catenin-independent pathway in the Wnt signaling. Although abnormal activation of beta-catenin-dependent pathway is often observed in human cancer, the relationship between beta-catenin-independent pathway and tumorigenesis is not clear. We sought to clarify how Wnt-5a is involved in aggressiveness of gastric cancer. Abnormal expression of Wnt-5a was observed in 71 of 237 gastric cancer cases by means of immunohistochemistry. The positivity of Wnt-5a expression was correlated with advanced stages and poor prognosis of gastric cancer. Wnt-5a had the abilities to stimulate cell migration and invasion in gastric cancer cells. Wnt-5a activated focal adhesion kinase and small GTP-binding protein Rac, both of which are known to play a role in cell migration. Cell migration, membrane ruffling, and turnover of paxillin were suppressed in Wnt-5a knockdown cells. Furthermore, anti-Wnt-5a antibody suppressed gastric cancer cell migration. These results suggest that Wnt-5a stimulates cell migration by regulating focal adhesion complexes and that Wnt-5a is not only a prognostic factor but also a good therapeutic target for gastric cancer.

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