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Cancer Res. 2009 Nov 15;69(22):8603-10. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-2534. Epub 2009 Nov 3.

Functional significance of Wnt inhibitory factor-1 gene in kidney cancer.

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Department of Urology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.


Wnt inhibitory factor-1 (WIF-1) has been identified as one of the secreted antagonists that bind Wnt protein. WIF-1 has been described as a tumor suppressor in various types of cancer. However, the molecular function of WIF-1 gene has never been examined in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Therefore, we hypothesized that WIF-1 functions as a tumor suppressor gene and overexpression of this gene may induce apoptosis and inhibit tumor growth in RCC cells. Immunohistochemistry and real-time reverse transcription-PCR revealed that WIF-1 was significantly downregulated in RCC samples and RCC cell lines, respectively. Bisulfite sequencing of the WIF-1 promoter region in RCC cell lines showed it to be densely methylated, whereas there was no methylation of WIF-1 promoter in normal kidney. Significant inhibition of cell growth and colony formation in WIF-1-transfected cells compared with controls were observed. WIF-1 transfection significantly induced apoptosis and suppressed in vivo tumor growth. Also, Wnt signaling activity and beta-catenin expression were reduced by WIF-1 transfection. In conclusion, this is the first report documenting that the WIF-1 is downregulated by promoter methylation and functions as a tumor suppressor gene by inducing apoptosis in RCC cells.

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