Background: The canonical Wnt signalling pathway is activated in most sporadic colorectal cancers (CRCs). We previously reported that FZD7 functions as a receptor for the canonical Wnt signalling pathway in colon cancer cells.
Methods and results: In this study, we examined the function of FZD7 in survival, invasion and metastatic capabilities of colon cancer cells. FZD7_siRNA transfection decreased cell viability of HT-29 and HCT-116 colon cancer cells. Expression of c-Jun, phosphorylation of JNK and c-Jun, and activation of RhoA were suppressed after FZD7_siRNA transfection into HCT-116 cells. In vitro invasion activity and Wnt target gene expression were also reduced in HCT-116 cells transfected with FZD7_siRNA. Liver metastasis of stable FZD7_siRNA HCT-116 cell transfectants in scid mice was decreased to 40-50% compared to controls. The mRNA levels of FZD7 in 135 primary CRC tissues were examined by real-time PCR. FZD7 mRNA levels were significantly higher in stage II, III or IV tumours than in non-tumour tissues (P<0.005), and overall survival was shorter in those patients with higher FZD7 expression (P<0.001).
Conclusion: These data suggest that FZD7 may be involved in enhancement of survival, invasion and metastatic capabilities of colon cancer cells through non-canonical Wnt signalling pathways as well as the canonical pathway.