Journal Article

Synergistic effects of <i>Pten</i> loss and WNT/CTNNB1 signaling pathway activation in ovarian granulosa cell tumor development and progression

Marie-Noëlle Laguë, Marilène Paquet, Heng-Yu Fan, M. Johanna Kaartinen, Simon Chu, Soazik P. Jamin, Richard R. Behringer, Peter J. Fuller, Andrew Mitchell, Monique Doré, Louis M. Huneault, JoAnne S. Richards and Derek Boerboom

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 29, issue 11, pages 2062-2072
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online August 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Synergistic effects of Pten loss and WNT/CTNNB1 signaling pathway activation in ovarian granulosa cell tumor development and progression

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The mechanisms of granulosa cell tumor (GCT) development may involve the dysregulation of signaling pathways downstream of follicle-stimulating hormone, including the phosphoinosite-3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway. To test this hypothesis, a genetically engineered mouse model was created to derepress the PI3K/AKT pathway in granulosa cells by conditional targeting of the PI3K antagonist gene Pten (Ptenflox/flox;Amhr2cre/+). The majority of Ptenflox/flox;Amhr2cre/+ mice featured no ovarian anomalies, but occasionally (∼7%) developed aggressive, anaplastic GCT with pulmonary metastases. The expression of the PI3K/AKT downstream effector FOXO1 was abrogated in Ptenflox/flox;Amhr2cre/+ GCT, indicating a mechanism by which GCT cells may increase proliferation and evade apoptosis. To relate these findings to spontaneously occurring GCT, analyses of PTEN and phospho-AKT expression were performed on human and equine tumors. Although PTEN loss was not detected, many GCT (2/5 human, 7/17 equine) featured abnormal nuclear or perinuclear localization of phospho-AKT, suggestive of altered PI3K/AKT activity. As inappropriate activation of WNT/CTNNB1 signaling causes late-onset GCT development and cross talk between the PI3K/AKT and WNT/CTNNB1 pathways has been reported, we tested whether these pathways could synergize in GCT. Activation of both the PI3K/AKT and WNT/CTNNB1 pathways in the granulosa cells of a mouse model (Ptenflox/flox;Ctnnb1flox(ex3)/+;Amhr2cre/+) resulted in the development of GCT similar to those observed in Ptenflox/flox;Amhr2cre/+ mice, but with 100% penetrance, perinatal onset, extremely rapid growth and the ability to spread by seeding into the abdominal cavity. These data indicate a synergistic effect of dysregulated PI3K/AKT and WNT/CTNNB1 signaling in the development and progression of GCT and provide the first animal models for metastatic GCT.

Journal Article.  6977 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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