SDF-1/CXCR4 promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition and progression of colorectal cancer by activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway

Ting-Hua Hu, Yu Yao, Shuo Yu, Li-Li Han, Wen-Juan Wang, Hui Guo, Tao Tian, Zhi-Pin Ruan, Xiao-Min Kang, Jing Wang, Shu-Hong Wang, Ke-Jun Nan
Cancer Letters 2014 November 28, 354 (2): 417-26
Stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) and its receptor, CXCR4, play an important role in angiogenesis and are associated with tumor progression. This study aimed to investigate the role of SDF-1/CXCR4-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the progression of colorectal cancer (CRC) as well as the underlying mechanisms. The data showed that expression of CXCR4 and β-catenin mRNA and protein was significantly higher in CRC tissues than in distant normal tissues. CXCR4 expression was associated with β-catenin expression in CRC tissues, whereas high CXCR4 expression was strongly associated with low E-cadherin, high N-cadherin, and high vimentin expression, suggesting a cross talk between the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in CRC. In vitro, SDF-1 induced CXCR4-positive colorectal cancer cell invasion and EMT by activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. In contrast, SDF-1/CXCR4 axis activation-induced colorectal cancer invasion and EMT was effectively inhibited by the Wnt signaling pathway inhibitor Dickkopf-1. In conclusion, CXCR4-promoted CRC progression and EMT were regulated by the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Thus, targeting of the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis could have clinical applications in suppressing CRC progression.

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