Detection and analysis of β-catenin mutations in prostate cancer

Dennis R. Chesire, Charles M. Ewing, Jurga Sauvageot, G. Steven Bova, William B. Isaacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND. E-cadherin and α-catenin are components of adherens junctions which mediate calcium-dependent, cell-cell adhesion in a homotypic manner. Both these molecules have been defined as useful tumor markers as their altered expression correlates with increased tumor aggressiveness and dedifferentiation. More recently, alterations of a third component of adherens junctions, β-catenin, have been observed to play a role in several human cancers. Dysregulation of β-catenin, either by direct mutation or by defects in inter-acting pathways/regulators, can result in its cytoplasmic accumulation and nuclear translocation. In the nucleus, β-catenin forms a transcriptional complex capable of upregulating target genes, many of which encode proliferative factors. Given its oncogenic activity and connection to human cancer, we examined the β-catenin gene and its expression in prostate cancer. METHODS. By single-stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) and DNA sequencing analyses, we screened exon 3 of β-catenin from a panel of 81 primary tumors obtained at radical prostatectomy, 22 lymph node metastases from untreated patients, and a unique set of 61 metastatic tissues from 19 patients who died of hormone-refractory disease. RESULTS. We found putative activating mutations (missense and deletion) at a rate of 5% (7/138). One patient had the same 72 base pair deletion in each of nine separate metastases examined, indicating that this change was associated with a clonal population of metastatic cells. CONCLUSIONS. Immunohistological staining of mutation-positive tumors demonstrated β-catenin accumulation and nuclear localization in a heterogeneous fashion. Consistent with this in vivo finding, our in vitro analyses demonstrate that certain mutations can result in increased β-catenin nuclear activity in prostate cancer cell lines. These data implicate the β-catenin signaling pathway in the development of a subset of prostate cancers. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-334
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 19 2000



  • Activating mutation
  • Prostate cancer
  • wnt Pathway
  • β-Catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology

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