Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3-IIIc mediates colorectal cancer growth and migration

G. Sonvilla, S. Allerstorfer, C. Heinzle, S. Stättner, J. Karner, M. Klimpfinger, F. Wrba, H. Fischer, C. Gauglhofer, S. Spiegl-Kreinecker, B. Grasl-Kraupp, K. Holzmann, M. Grusch, W. Berger, B. Marian

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Background:Deregulation of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is involved in several malignancies. Its role in colorectal cancer has not been assessed before.Methods:Expression of FGFR3 in human colorectal tumour specimens was analysed using splice variant-specific real-time reverse transcriptase PCR assays. To analyse the impact of FGFR3-IIIc expression on tumour cell biology, colon cancer cell models overexpressing wild-type (WT-3b and WT3c) or dominant-negative FGFR3 variants (KD3c and KD3b) were generated by either plasmid transfection or adenoviral transduction.Results:Although FGFR3 mRNA expression is downregulated in colorectal cancer, alterations mainly affected the FGFR3-IIIb splice variant, resulting in an increased IIIc/IIIb ratio predominantly in a subgroup of advanced tumours. Overexpression of WT3c increased proliferation, survival and colony formation in all colon cancer cell models tested, whereas WT3b had little activity. In addition, it conferred sensitivity to autocrine FGF18-mediated growth and migration signals in SW480 cells with low endogenous FGFR3-IIIc expression. Disruption of FGFR3-IIIc-dependent signalling by dominant-negative FGFR3-IIIc or small interfering RNA-mediated FGFR3-IIIc knockdown resulted in inhibition of cell growth and induction of apoptosis, which could not be observed when FGFR3-IIIb was blocked. In addition, KD3c expression blocked colony formation and migration and distinctly attenuated tumour growth in SCID mouse xenograft models.Conclusion:Our data show that FGFR3-IIIc exerts oncogenic functions by mediating FGF18 effects in colorectal cancer and may constitute a promising new target for therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1156
Number of pages12
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2010



  • Cell migration
  • Clonogenicity
  • Colon cancer
  • FGFR3
  • Therapeutic target

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Sonvilla, G., Allerstorfer, S., Heinzle, C., Stättner, S., Karner, J., Klimpfinger, M., Wrba, F., Fischer, H., Gauglhofer, C., Spiegl-Kreinecker, S., Grasl-Kraupp, B., Holzmann, K., Grusch, M., Berger, W., & Marian, B. (2010). Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3-IIIc mediates colorectal cancer growth and migration. British journal of cancer, 102(7), 1145-1156.