Send to

Choose Destination
Oncogene. 2002 Nov 14;21(52):7981-90.

Abnormalities of the APC/beta-catenin pathway in endometrial cancer.

Author information

Laboratory of Breast and Gynaecological Cancer, Molecular Pathology Programme, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO), Melchor Fernández Almagro 3, 28029 Madrid, Spain.


The activation of the APC/beta-catenin signalling pathway due to beta-catenin mutations has been implicated in the development of a subset of endometrial carcinomas (ECs). However, up to 25% of ECs have beta-catenin nuclear accumulation without evidence of beta-catenin mutations, suggesting alterations of other molecules that can modulate the Wnt pathway, such as APC, gamma-catenin, AXIN1 and AXIN2. We investigated the expression pattern of beta- and gamma-catenin in a group of 128 endometrial carcinomas, including 95 endometrioid endometrial carcinomas (EECs) and 33 non-endometrioid endometrial carcinomas (NEECs). In addition, we evaluated the presence of loss of heterozygosity and promoter hypermethylation of the APC gene and mutations in the APC, beta- and gamma-catenin, AXIN1, AXIN2, and RAS genes, and phospho-Akt expression. No APC mutations were detected but LOH at the APC locus was found in 24.3% of informative cases. APC promoter 1A hypermethylation was observed in 46.6% of ECs, and was associated with the endometrioid phenotype (P=0.034) and microsatellite instability (P=0.008). Neither LOH nor promoter hypermethylation of APC was associated with nuclear catenin expression. Nuclear beta-catenin expression was found in 31.2% of EECs and 3% of NEECs (P=0.002), and was significantly associated with beta-catenin gene exon 3 mutations (P<0.0001). beta-catenin gene exon 3 mutations were associated with the endometrioid phenotype, and were detected in 14 (14.9%) EECs, but in none of the NEECs (P=0.02). gamma-catenin nuclear expression was found in 10 ECs; it was not associated with the histological type but was associated with more advanced stages (P=0.042). No mutations in gamma-catenin, AXIN1 and 2 genes were detected in this series. Neither RAS mutations nor phospho-Akt expression, which were found in 16 and 27.6% of the cases, respectively, were associated with beta-catenin nuclear expression. Our results demonstrated a high prevalence of alterations in molecules of the APC/beta-catenin pathway, but only mutations in beta-catenin gene are associated with aberrant nuclear localization of beta-catenin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center