Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Non-small-cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs), which represent around 80% of lung tumors, exhibit poor prognosis and are usually refractory to conventional chemotherapy. Elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that are dysregulated in NSCLCs may lead to new possibilities for targeted therapy or enhanced efficacy of current therapies. Here we demonstrate Wnt pathway activation in around 50% of human NSCLC cell lines and primary tumors, through different mechanisms, including autocrine Wnt pathway activation involving upregulation of specific Wnt ligands. Downregulation of activated Wnt signaling inhibited NSCLC proliferation and induced a more differentiated phenotype. Together, our findings establish importance of activated Wnt signaling in human NSCLCs and offer the possibility of targeting upregulated Wnt signaling as a new therapeutic modality for this disease.
- Lung cancer