Mutations in the APC tumor suppressor gene cause FAP and are detected in approximately 80% of sporadic colorectal cancers. A loss of functional APC results in activation of TCF/Beta-catenin-mediated transcription. Activation of this pathway alters the expression of numerous genes, e.g., COX-2, that have been implicated in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. Preclinical and clinical studies have highlighted the potential importance of COX-2 as a therapeutic target for preventing and possibly treating colorectal cancer. The long-term objective of this application is to better understand the mechanistic link between APC, COX-2 and colorectal carcinogenesis as well as the mechanism(s) of action of selective COX-2 inhibitors. We have shown that activation of Beta-catenin signaling stimulates prostanoid biosynthesis by inducing COX-2 and mPGES-1. Notably, deregulated TCF/Beta-catenin signaling stimulated the transcription of both genes, stabilized COX-2 mRNA while blocking its translation. Activation of EGFR/Ras signaling, a common event in colorectal neoplasia, relieved this translational block. In one aim, we will define the mechanisms underlying these effects.
A second aim will be to characterize the effects of COX-2-derived products on downstream pathways that have been implicated in carcinogenesis.
This aim i s supported by preliminary evidence that PGE2 and TXA2 activate TCF/Beta-catenin-mediated transcription and EGFR signaling suggesting cross-talk between these pathways. Additionally, PGE2 and TXA2 altered the post-transcriptional control of TCF/Beta-catenin target genes suggesting that eicosanoids affect cell growth by multiple mechanisms. Finally, we have shown that celecoxib """"""""normalizes"""""""" deregulated TCF/Beta-catenin-mediated transcription by a COX-2- independent mechanism. Hence, a third aim will be to perform additional in vitro and in vivo studies to further evaluate these effects. These studies will enhance our understanding of the mechanistic link between COX-2 and colorectal cancer and potentially assist us in optimizing the use of selective COX-2 inhibitors as therapy.
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