Inhibition of the Wnt/b-catenin pathway using PNU-74654 reduces tumor growth in in vitro and in vivo models of colorectal cancer

Forouzan Amerizadeh, Farzad Rahmani, Mina Maftooh, Seyedeh-Najibeh Nasiri, Seyed Mahdi Hassanian, Elisa Giovannetti, Reyhaneh Moradi-Marjaneh, Reihaneh Sabbaghzadeh, Soodabeh Shahidsales, Mona Joudi-Mashhad, Majid Ghayour-Mobarhan, Gordon A. Ferns, Majid Khazaei*, Amir Avan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Colorectal-cancer (CRC) is amongst the most lethal-cancers, mainly due to its metastatic spread and drug chemoresistance. Hence there is a need for new approaches to either increase the efficacy of current therapy or introduce new therapies that have greater efficacy. There is increasing evidence that dysregulation of WNT-signaling-pathway plays an essential role in the development and prognosis of CRC. Here we have investigated the therapeutic potential of targeting the WNT/b-catenin pathway using a novel Wnt/b-catenin inhibitor, PNU-74654, in combination with 5-FU in CRC. Methods: The anti-proliferative-effect of PNU-74654 was evaluated in two-/three-dimensional cell models. The activity of agents on cell growth, migration, invasion, cell cycle and apoptosis was evaluated by MTT, wound healing assay, invasion, FACS, and annexin V staining, respectively. The oxidant/antioxidant levels were also assessed by determining the level of MDA, SOD, as well as using the DCFH-DA assay. We used a xenograft model of CRC to investigate PNU-74654 activity alone and in combination with 5-FU follow by histological staining and biochemical and gene expression analyses by RT-PCR and western blot. Results: PNU-74654 inhibited cell-growth and synergistically affected the anti-tumor properties of 5-FU via modulation of Cyclin D1 and survivin. This agent inhibited the migration/invasion of colorectal cancer cells via perturbation of E-cadherin. Furthermore, PNU-74654 inhibited the tumor growth, which was more pronounced using the PNU-74654 plus 5-FU combination via induction of reactive oxygen species, down-regulation of SOD and modulation of MCP-1, P53, TNF-α. Conclusions: Our finding demonstrated that PNU-74654 can target Wnt-pathway, interfere with cell-proliferation, induced-cell death, reduced-migration and interact with 5-FU, supporting further investigations on this therapeutic-approach for colorectal cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101853
JournalTissue and Cell
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

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