Identification of a Novel Fusion Gene, FAM174A-WWC1, in Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer: Establishment and Characterization of Four Human Cancer Cell Lines from Early-Onset Colorectal Cancers

Transl Oncol. 2019 Sep;12(9):1185-1195. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2019.05.019. Epub 2019 Jun 20.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer diagnosed worldwide and represents the second most common cause of all cancer-related deaths in Korea. Although epidemiological data indicate a sharp increase in the incidence of CRC among individuals older than 50 years, more than 10% of CRCs occur before reaching 50. These are known as early-onset CRCs (EOCRCs) and are likely to be suggestive of hereditary predisposition. However, known familial CRC syndromes account for only 20% of genetic aberrations of EOCRC, and the remaining 80% are still in question. Therefore, we aimed to establish reproducible biological resources and contribute to expand the mutation database of EOCRC. Four cell lines derived from the original tumor mass of CRC patients diagnosed under age 30 years were established, and next-generation sequencing technique was used to identify the genetic features of EOCRC. We have identified one novel fusion gene, FAM174A-WWC1, and analyzed its functional role. The induction of FAM174A-WWC1 to normal fibroblast caused alternations in cellular morphology as well as intercellular expression of E-cadherin and N-cadherin. Moreover, WWC1 carrying the fused FAM174A domain not only abrogated the membrane expression of YAP1 but also significantly increased the levels of nucleic YAP1. As a result, the FAM174A-WWC1 expression increased the oncogenic capacity and invasiveness of normal fibroblasts, which suggests its role as a potential driver mutation of EOCRC.