Somatic mutations of adenomatous polyposis coli gene and nuclear b-catenin accumulation have prognostic significance in invasive urothelial carcinomas: evidence for Wnt pathway implication

Int J Cancer. 2009 Jan 1;124(1):103-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23917.


Wnt pathway signaling is crucial in many cancers and data indicate crosstalk with other key cancer pathways, however in urothelial carcinogenesis it has not been extensively studied. We searched for mutations in adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), a key regulator of the pathway, and studied b-catenin expression and interactions with the expression of other markers of apoptosis, angiogenesis, and proliferation in patients with invasive urothelial cancer. The mutation cluster region of APC was directly sequenced in 70 patients with muscle invasive disease who were treated with surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy. COX-2, p53, Ki67, and b-catenin were studied immunohistochemically and micro vessel density was quantified by CD105 expression. Single somatic amino-acid substitutions (missense) were found in 9 (13%) and frameshift deletions in 2 (3%) tumors, all located in regions adjacent to b-catenin binding sites. Patients having either APC missense mutations or b-catenin nuclear accumulation had less frequent COX-2 overexpression (24% vs. 76%, p = 0.043) and more frequent lymph node involvement (75% vs. 38%, p = 0.023). Patients with either APC mutations or b-catenin accumulation had shorter disease-free interval (13.4 vs. 28 months, p = 0.07), whereas in multivariate analysis they had shorter disease-specific survival (60.5 vs. 20.6 months, p = 0.048). Somatic APC missense mutations are not rare in advanced urothelial neoplasms. Either APC mutations and/or aberrant expression of b-catenin are associated with worse outcome. Further study of the role of the Wnt pathway, potential crosstalk with other pathways and potential candidate therapeutic targets in urothelial cancer is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Carboplatin / pharmacology
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Urothelium / pathology*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / biosynthesis*


  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • Carboplatin
  • Paclitaxel