Role of fibroblast growth factor 4 in the growth and metastasis of colorectal cancer

Int J Oncol. 2020 Jun;56(6):1565-1573. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2020.5029. Epub 2020 Mar 26.


The role of fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) in colorectal cancer (CRC) is poorly characterized. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to investigate the expression levels of FGFR4 in colorectal cancer and its prognostic value, and clarify the role of FGFR4 in the proliferation and metastasis of colorectal cancer cells. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the association between FGFR4 expression and clinicopathological features in colorectal cancer tissues. The effect of FGFR4 silencing on tumor cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, migration and invasion was evaluated via lentiviral transfection of the colorectal cancer cell line SW620. Western blot analysis was used to detect the changes of epithelial‑mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers, following FGFR4 silencing. FGFR4 is upregulated in CRC tissues compared with normal tissues. Patients with high FGFR4 expression exhibited a lower 5‑year survival rate compared with patients with low FGFR4 expression (64 vs. 74%). FGFR4 silencing reduced proliferation, inhibited cell invasion, arrested cells in S phase and promoted apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells. FGFR4 silencing partially reversed EMT progression and FGFR4 this effect was enhanced in the presence of XAV939 (a β‑catenin inhibitor). The current data suggest that FGFR4 may be associated with prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. In vitro functional tests revealed that FGFR4 may represent an effective therapeutic target for colorectal cancer. FGFR4 may also regulate EMT via the Wnt/β‑catenin pathway.

Keywords: FGFR4; colorectal cancer; proliferation; Wnt/β-catenin; EMT.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Female
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4 / genetics*
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4 / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway


  • FGFR4 protein, human
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4