Dickkopf-1 activates cell death in MDA-MB435 melanoma cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Jan 19;352(3):675-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.11.079. Epub 2006 Nov 27.


Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) is known inhibitor of the canonical Wnt pathway. Recent studies strongly suggested that activation of DKK-1 expression results in inhibition of cell tumorigenicity. Reduced levels of DKK-1 in melanomas were recently shown. However, it is not known if DKK-1 activation in melanoma cells will inhibit cell tumorigenicity. In the present study, we overexpressed DKK-1 in melanoma cell line MDA-MB435. We show that while DKK-1 did not affect cell growth in soft agar, weak but significant inhibition of tumorigenicity in nude mice in vivo was observed. Analysis of resulting tumors revealed activation of cell death. In tumors originating from cells transduced with DKK-1, tumor mass was permeated with areas of necrosis. In tumors, originated from control cells, areas of necrosis were limited to the central region, a common feature of large tumors growing in nude mice. TUNEL assay revealed that in tumors originating from cells transduced with DKK-1 apoptotic cells were detected along the border of necrotic and viable areas of the tumors indicating significant increase in apoptotic process. Thus, our results indicate that activation of DKK-1 in melanoma cells leads to activation of apoptosis in vivo and, thus, is incompatible with tumor growth in nude mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Mice


  • DKK1 protein, human
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins