The onco-embryonic antigen ROR1 is expressed by a variety of human cancers

Am J Pathol. 2012 Dec;181(6):1903-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.08.024. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


ROR1 is an orphan-receptor tyrosine-kinase-like surface antigen that is expressed by many tissues during embryogenesis, some B-cell malignancies, and various cancer cell lines but not by virtually all normal adult tissues. Here, we report that large proportions of many different human cancers also express ROR1, particularly those cancers that have high-grade histology. Primary cancers that expressed ROR1 more commonly expressed high levels of phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT) and phosphorylated cAMP response element binding-factor (p-CREB) than similar cancers that lacked expression of ROR1. Induced expression of ROR1 could enhance basal p-AKT and p-CREB levels and could promote the growth of a cancer cell line, MEC1. Conversely, silencing ROR1 resulted in lower levels of p-AKT and p-CREB, which was associated with impaired tumor cell growth. In summary, this study found that many different human cancers express ROR1 and that ROR1 may play a functional role in promoting tumor cell growth, suggesting that this orphan-receptor tyrosine-kinase-like protein may be a potential target for therapy directed against a variety of human cancers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors / genetics
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors / metabolism*


  • CREB1 protein, human
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • ROR1 protein, human
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt