Activation of the Wnt pathway in non small cell lung cancer: evidence of dishevelled overexpression

Oncogene. 2003 Oct 16;22(46):7218-21. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206817.


Non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and worldwide. Unfortunately, standard therapies remain inadequate. An increased understanding of the molecular biology of lung cancer biology is required to develop more effective new therapies. In this report, we show that the Wnt pathway is activated through Dishevelled (Dvl) overexpression in NSCLC. Analysis of freshly resected tumors and lung cancer cell lines demonstrate that Dvl-3, a critical mediator of Wnt signaling, is overexpressed. Specifically, Dvl-3 was overexpressed significantly in 75% of fresh NSCLC microdissected samples compared to control paired matched normal lung samples. To evaluate the biological significance of Wnt signaling and, in particular, Dvl function in lung cancer, we transfected siRNA (designed to inhibit selectively human Dvl-1, -2, and -3), to the NSCLC cell line H1703, which is known to have beta-catenin-mediated Tcf-dependent transcriptional activity. Here, we demonstrate that Dvl-specific siRNA treatment in H1703 decreases significantly Dvl and beta-catenin expression, resulting in reduction of Tcf-dependent transcriptional activity, and, importantly, growth inhibition. Taken together, these data support the novel hypothesis that Dvl overexpression is critical to Wnt signaling activation and cell growth in NSCLC.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases