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Cancer Res. 1998 Jun 15;58(12):2520-3.

Beta-catenin mutations in human prostate cancer.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC 20007-2197, USA.


Beta-catenin plays essential roles in both intercellular adhesion and signal transduction. As a signaling molecule, beta-catenin supplies an activating domain to the T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer-binding factor family of DNA-binding proteins and activates gene transcription. Posttranslational stabilization of beta-catenin, leading to elevated protein levels and constitutive gene activation, has been proposed as an important step in oncogenesis. Stabilization of beta-catenin can occur through mutation to highly conserved amino acids encoded in exon 3 of the beta-catenin gene (CTNNB1). To determine whether this pathway of malignant transformation is important in prostate cancer, we analyzed 104 prostate cancer tissue specimens, 4 prostate cancer cell lines, and 3 prostate tumor xenografts for activating mutations in exon 3 of CTNNB1. Mutations were detected in 5 of the 104 prostate cancer tissue samples. Four of the five mutations involved serine or threonine residues implicated in the degradation of beta-catenin. A fifth tumor had a mutation at codon 32, changing a highly conserved aspartic acid to a tyrosine. Mutational analysis of multiple regions from several tumor samples showed that the beta-catenin mutations were present focally and therefore may occur during tumor progression.

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