Background: The Wnt gene family is involved in embryogenesis and tumourigenesis. We investigated the clinical significance of Wnt1 expression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Method: We studied 216 NSCLC patients. Immunohistochemistry was performed to investigate the Wnt1 expression in relation to the expression of beta-catenin and Wnt-targets, including c-Myc, Cyclin D1, VEGF-A and MMP-7. The Ki-67 proliferation index and the intratumoural microvessel density (IMD) were also evaluated.
Results: The ratio of tumours with an aberrant beta-catenin expression was significantly higher in Wnt1-positive tumours than in Wnt1-negative tumours (p<0.0001). The Wnt1 expression significantly correlated with the expression of c-Myc (p<0.0001), Cyclin D1 (p<0.0001), VEGF-A (p=0.0160), MMP-7 (p<0.0001), the Ki-67 index (p=0.0048) and the IMD (p=0.0267). Furthermore, the Wnt1 status was a significant prognostic factor for NSCLC patients (p=0.0127).
Conclusions: The Wnt1 overexpression is associated with the expression of tumour-associated Wnt-targets, tumour proliferation, angiogenesis and a poor prognosis in NSCLCs.