IWR-1 inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells through suppressing Wnt/β-catenin signaling as well as survivin expression

Sang Chul Lee, Ok-Hee Kim, Sang Kuon Lee, Say-June Kim
Oncotarget 2015 September 29, 6 (29): 27146-59
Aberrant activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is frequently observed in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and is considered a major determinant of CRC pathogenesis. CRC pathogenesis is particularly accompanied by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and survivin expression. Here, we investigated the potential and mechanism of a novel Wnt/β-catenin inhibitor IWR-1 to suppress tumor metastasis in relation with EMT and survivin expression. We first determined the EMT reversal effects of IWR-1 in in vitro (HCT116 and HT29 cells) and ex vivo (specimens of CRC patients) CRC models. It was shown that IWR-1 inhibited cell proliferation and EMT even in the presence of TNF-α-induced cancer cell stimulation. IWR-1 also significantly suppressed cell migration, invasion, and matrix metalloproteinase activities of CRC cell lines. Furthermore, we showed the evidence that IWR-1 provides EMT reversal effects by directly suppressing survivin expression by the followings: 1) IWR-1 could not completely inhibit EMT in survivin-overexpressing HCT116 cells, 2) EMT reversal effects of IWR-1 were more pronounced in survivin-suppressed cells, and 3) Survivin promoter assay directly identified the survivin promoter region responsible for inhibition of survivin transcription by IWR-1. Taken altogether, our results demonstrate that IWR-1 has the potential to suppress tumor metastasis by inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin pathway as well as survivin expression. Therefore, IWR-1 could be considered for future clinical use as a therapeutic agent to treat CRC.

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