Canonical Wnt/ β-catenin pathway is one mechanism being activated in platinum-resistant epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Detecting potential targets for Wnt pathway modulation as a putative future therapeutic approach was the aim of this study.
Biological effects of different Wnt modulators (SB216763, XAV939 and triptolide) on the EOC cell lines A2780 and its platinum-resistant clone A2780cis were investigated via multiple functional tests. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was carried out to compare the expression levels of Wnt marker proteins (β-catenin, snail/ slug, E-cadherin) in patient specimens and to correlate them with lifetime data.
We could show that activated Wnt signaling of the platinum-resistant EOC cell line A2780cis can be reversed by Wnt manipulators through SB216763 or XAV939. All Wnt manipulators tested consecutively decreased cell proliferation and cell viability. Apoptosis of A2780 and A2780cis was enhanced by triptolide in a dose-dependent manner, whereas cell migration was inhibited by SB216763 and triptolide. IHC analyses elucidated significantly different expression patterns for Wnt markers in the serous subtype. Herein, higher plasmatic snail/ slug expression is associated with improved progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS).
According to the described effects on EOC biology, all three Wnt manipulators seem to have the potential to augment the impact of a platinum-based chemotherapy in EOC. This is promising as a dominance of this pathway was confirmed in serous histology.