Background & aims: Kruppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) is a ubiquitous zinc finger tumor suppressor that is often mutated in prostate cancer. Our aims were to establish the frequency of KLF6 inactivation in sporadic and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-associated colorectal cancers (CRC); to correlate these abnormalities with mutation and/or loss of TP53, APC, and K-RAS; and to characterize the behavior of mutant KLF6 in colon-derived cell lines.
Methods: We analyzed DNA isolated from 50 microdissected CRC cases, including 35 sporadic and 15 IBD-associated tumors. Microsatellite analysis and direct sequencing were used to establish the incidence of microsatellite instability, KLF6 and TP53 allelic imbalance, and KLF6, K-RAS, TP53, and APC mutation. Loss of growth suppressive function of the CRC-derived KLF6 mutants was characterized by in vitro thymidine incorporation assays and Western blotting.
Results: KLF6 was inactivated by loss and/or mutation in most sporadic and IBD-related CRCs. The KLF6 locus was deleted in at least 55% of tumors, and mutations were identified in 44%. Rates of KLF6 loss and mutation were similar to those of TP53 and K-RAS in the same samples. KLF6 mutations were present in tumors with either microsatellite or chromosomal instability and were more common, particularly in the IBD-related cancers, in the presence of wild-type APC. Unlike wild-type KLF6, cancer-derived KLF6 mutants neither suppressed growth nor induced p21 following transfection into cultured cells.
Conclusions: Deregulation of KLF6 by a combination of allelic imbalance and mutation may play a role in the development of CRC.