Wilms tumor is the most common renal neoplasm of childhood. We previously found that restricted activation of the WNT/β-catenin pathway in renal epithelium late in kidney development is sufficient to induce small primitive neoplasms with features of epithelial Wilms tumor. Metastatic disease progression required simultaneous addition of an activating mutation of the oncogene K-RAS. We sought to define the molecular pathways activated in this process and their relationship to human renal malignancies.Materials and Methods:
Affymetrix® expression microarray data from murine kidneys with activation of K-ras and/or Ctnnb1 (β-catenin) restricted to renal epithelium were analyzed and compared to publicly available expression data on normal and neoplastic human renal tissue. Target genes were verified by immunoblot and immunohistochemistry.Results:
Mouse kidney tumors with activation of K-ras and Ctnnb1, and human renal malignancies had similar mRNA expression signatures and were associated with activation of networks centered on β-catenin and TP53. Up-regulation of WNT/β-catenin targets (MYC, Survivin, FOXA2, Axin2 and Cyclin D1) was confirmed by immunoblot. K-RAS/β-catenin murine kidney tumors were more similar to human Wilms tumor than to other renal malignancies and demonstrated activation of a TP53 dependent network of genes, including the transcription factor E2F1. Up-regulation of E2F1 was confirmed in murine and human Wilms tumor samples.Conclusions:
Simultaneous activation of K-RAS and β-catenin in embryonic renal epithelium leads to neoplasms similar to human Wilms tumor and associated with activation of TP53 and up-regulation of E2F1. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the role of TP53 and E2F1 in human Wilms tumor.