British journal of cancer

The Wnt pathway regulator DKK1 is preferentially expressed in hormone-resistant breast tumours and in some common cancer types.

PMID 17245340


In addition to new tumour antigens, new prognostic and diagnostic markers are needed for common cancers. In this study, we report the expression of Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) in multiple common cancers. This constitutes a comprehensive analysis of the DKK1 expression profile. Dickkopf-1 expression was evaluated by classical and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay for protein determination, in cancer lines and clinical specimens of several cancer origins. For breast cancer, expression was correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Dickkopf-1 expression was confirmed in several cancer cell lines derived from breast and other common cancers. Dickkopf-1 protein secretion was documented in breast, prostate and lung cancer lines, but was negligible in melanoma. Analysis of DKK1 expression in human cancer specimens revealed DKK1 expression in breast (21 out of 73), lung (11 out of 23) and kidney cancers (six out of 20). Interestingly, DKK1 was preferentially expressed in oestrogen and progesterone receptor-negative tumours (ER(-)/PR(-); P=0.005) and in tumours from women with a family history of breast cancer (P=0.024). Importantly, DKK1 protein production was confirmed in multiple breast cancer specimens that were positive by RT-PCR. This work establishes DKK1 as a potential prognostic and diagnostic marker for cohorts of breast cancer patients with poor prognosis. Dickkopf-1 may also become a relevant candidate target for immunotherapy of different cancers.