Introduction: Recent reports on gene expression profiling (GEP) show several genes associated with malignant progression of GIST. However, genes associated with malignant transformation have not been clarified. Here, we aimed to reveal distinct genes in aggressive malignant GIST, using comprehensive gene expression analysis. Materials and methods: We investigated GEP obtained by microarrays for 43 gastric GISTs, which mostly harbored KIT and PDGFRA mutations and integrated clinicopathological risk information. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were performed for FZD7, a receptor of Wnt ligands. Results: GEP divided 43 gastric GISTs into two clusters. A cluster included seven of eight high-risk GISTs (88%) in modified NIH classification and was defined as high-risk cluster; the other cluster was defined as low-risk cluster. The number of probes with over 3-fold changes between the two clusters was 1,177, in which probes corresponding to 16 oncogenes were included. Genes involved in the Wnt signaling pathway were the most abundant among the 16 oncogenes. Focusing on 73 Wnt signaling pathway genes of the 21,578 probes, 12 upregulated and 5 downregulated genes were found in the high-risk cluster. Major cascade genes promoting the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, including WNT11, FZD family, and DVL2, were upregulated in the high-risk cluster. SNAI1, SNAI2, and BIRC5, which are activated by this pathway and increase cell proliferation, were also upregulated. These gene expression alterations were consistent in the positive direction of this pathway. GISTs in high-risk cluster strongly expressed FZD7. Conclusion: Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway may play an important role in malignant transformation of indolent GIST.
ASJC Scopus subject areas