Van-Gogh-like 2 antagonises the canonical WNT pathway and is methylated in colorectal cancers

G. Piazzi, M. Selgrad, M. Garcia, C. Ceccarelli, L. Fini, P. Bianchi, L. Laghi, L. D'Angelo, P. Paterini, P. Malfertheiner, P. Chieco, C. R. Boland, F. Bazzoli, L. Ricciardiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Aberrant activation of the canonical WNT signaling is a feature of colorectal cancer (CRC). Van-Gogh-like 2 (VANGL2) belongs to the non-canonical WNT pathway whose activation inhibits canonical WNT signaling. In this study, we investigated the role of VANGL2 and its epigenetic regulation in CRC.Methods:Van-Gogh-like 2 expression and promoter methylation after 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza) treatment were evaluated in CRC cells. DNA samples from 418 sporadic CRCs were tested for VANGL2 promoter methylation and microsatellite instability (MSI). Proliferation, colony formation and activation of the WNT pathway were tested in cells after VANGL2 overexpression.Results: Van-Gogh-like 2 mRNA was significantly higher in 5-aza-treated RKO, LOVO and SW48, whereas no differences were found in SW480. Van-Gogh-like 2 was fully methylated in RKO, SW48, HCT116, DLD1 and Caco2; partially methylated in LOVO, LS174T and SW837; and unmethylated in SW480, SW620 and HT29. Higher expression of VANGL2 mRNA was found in the unmethylated cell lines. In CRC specimens (8.93% MSI), methylated VANGL2 was associated with MSI, higher grade, proximal colon location and BRAF mutation. Van-Gogh-like 2 overexpression in SW480 significantly decreased proliferation, colony formation and β-catenin levels.Conclusion:Van-Gogh-like 2 is frequently methylated in MSI-CRCs with BRAF mutation and may act as a tumour suppressor gene, counteracting WNT/β-catenin signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1750-1756
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 30 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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