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Blood. 2008 Dec 15;112(13):5171-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-02-139212. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Constitutive activation of the Wnt canonical pathway in mantle cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Cross Cancer Institute and University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.


Aberrations of the Wnt canonical pathway (WCP) are known to contribute to the pathogenesis of various types of cancer. We hypothesize that these defects may exist in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Both the upstream and downstream aspects of WCP were examined in MCL cell lines and tumors. Using WCP-specific oligonucleotide arrays, we found that MCL highly and consistently expressed Wnt3 and Wnt10. beta-catenin, a transcriptional factor that is a downstream target of WCP, is localized to the nucleus and transcriptionally active in all 3 MCL cell lines examined. By immunohistochemistry, 33 (52%) of 64 MCL tumors showed nuclear localization of beta-catenin, which significantly correlated with the expression of the phosphorylated/inactive form of GSK3beta (p-GSK3beta; P = .011, Fisher). GSK3beta inactivation is directly linked to WCP stimulation, since addition of recombinant sFRP proteins (a naturally occurring decoy for the Wnt receptors) resulted in a significant decrease in p-GSK3beta. Down-regulation of DvL-2 (an upstream signaling protein in WCP) by siRNA or selective inhibition of beta-catenin using quercetin significantly decreased cell growth in MCL cell lines. To conclude, WCP is constitutively activated in a subset of MCL and it appears to promote tumorigenesis in MCL.

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