Destabilization of β-catenin and RAS by targeting the Wnt/β-catenin pathway as a potential treatment for triple-negative breast cancer

Won Ji Ryu, Jeong Dong Lee, Jong Chan Park, Pu Hyeon Cha, Yong Hee Cho, Jee Ye Kim, Joo Hyuk Sohn, Soonmyung Paik, Kang Yell Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a severe and heterogeneous disease that lacks an approved targeted therapy and has a poor clinical outcome to chemotherapy. Although the RAS-ERK signaling axis is rarely mutated in TNBC, ~50% of TNBCs show an increased copy number and overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). However, EGFR-targeted therapies have offered no improvement in patient survival, underscoring the need to explore downstream targets, including RAS. We found that both β-catenin and RAS, as well as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), are overexpressed and correlated with one another in tumor tissues of TNBC patients. KYA1797K, an Axin-binding small molecule reducing β-catenin and RAS expression via degradation and suppressing EGFR expression via transcriptional repression, inhibited the proliferation and the metastatic capability of stable cell lines as well as patient-derived cells (PDCs) established from TNBC patient tissues. KYA1797K also suppressed the stemness of 3D-cultured PDCs and xenografted tumors established by using residual tumors from TNBC patients and those established by the TNBC cell line. Targeting both the Wnt/β-catenin and RAS-ERK pathways via small molecules simultaneously reducing the levels of β-catenin, RAS, and EGFR could be a potential therapeutic approach for TNBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-842
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank S.J. Lee and D.S. Min for providing cells. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIP) (2015R1A2A1A05001873; 2019R1A2C3002751). W.J. Ryu was supported by the Global PhD Fellowship Program through the NRF, funded by the Ministry of Education (2015H1A2A1034548).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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