FZD6 and RYK, non-canonical Wnt receptors in pancreatic cancer progression

Stevens, Payton D, Sall, Emily, Zhong, Alex, Hostetter, Galen, Madaj, Zachary, Thalappillil, Jennifer, Dobin, Alexander, Park, Youngkyu, Tuveson, David A, Williams, Bart O (2022) FZD6 and RYK, non-canonical Wnt receptors in pancreatic cancer progression. In: Annual Meeting of the American-Association-for-Cancer-Research (AACR), APR 08-13, 2022, New Orleans, LA.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a grim prognosis with 5-year patient survival of less than 10%. Development of effective therapeutics has been hampered by the PDAC tumor microenvironment (TME), which contains dense desmoplastic stroma that likely impedes the ability of therapies to reach the tumor cells. We have found that aggressive, “basal-like” human PDAC tumors have high expression of proteins involved in planar-cell-polarity (PCP), a type of non-canonical Wnt signaling. We show that the increased expression of the PCP genes, including the putative non-canonical Wnt ligand, Wnt5a, the Frizzled 6 (FZD6) Wnt receptor, and RYK co-receptor negatively impact patient prognosis. Using a panel of FZD6 knock-down pancreatic cell lines, we show that loss of FZD6 increases expression of the epithelial marker, E-cadherin, and decreases cellular motility in Transwell assays. We also find that loss of Fzd6 dramatically inhibits tumor progression in two mouse models of PDAC, with a pronounced change to the TME; including the cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and immune cells. Blinded histologic pathology review of tumor and immune cell infiltrates, by H&E and alphaSMA staining, suggests that the CAF cell population is altered. We propose this is the cause of the looser stroma surrounding the tumors after Fzd6 loss, which also results in an increased abundance of CD4 and CD8 positive T cells surrounding and within the tumors. Additionally, immunohistochemical staining for other PCP proteins within the pancreatic tumors lacking Fzd6 suggests that Fzd6 loss reduces PCP-component protein levels. We hypothesize that the loss of Fzd6 reduces tumor cell EMT and PCP signaling, while the loose stroma allows more immune cells that further slow tumor growth and progression. We have also examined the expression of PCP proteins in a novel orthotopic xenotransplantation model of PDAC, intraductally grafted organoids (IGO). IGO is a powerful tool to study PDAC as the intraductal tumors that develop recapitulate patient to patient heterogeneity while displaying features of either classical or basal-like PDAC subtypes. FZD6 and RYK are both more highly expressed in the IGO basal-like tumors than the classical type. Introduction of fast-growing, basal-like human tumors into the murine pancreas also resulted in a TME that produces more Wnt5a, when compared to the stroma surrounding tumors formed by injecting the classical subtype. Taken together, we believe we have identified a Wnt5a/Fzd6 driven PCP-like signaling pathway that makes tumors more mesenchymal-like, and results in PDAC tumor progression and worse patient prognosis.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: organism description > animal > mammal > rodent > mouse
diseases & disorders > cancer > cancer types > pancreatic cancer
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Tuveson lab
CSHL labs > Dobin Lab
SWORD Depositor: CSHL Elements
Depositing User: CSHL Elements
Date: 2022
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 17:54
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2023 17:54
Related URLs:
URI: https://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/40915

Actions (login required)

Administrator's edit/view item Administrator's edit/view item
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationNews & FeaturesCampus & Public EventsCareersGiving