Fra-1 is a key driver of colon cancer metastasis and a Fra-1 classifier predicts disease-free survival.


Fra-1 (Fos-related antigen-1) is a member of the AP-1 (activator protein-1) family of transcription factors. We previously showed that Fra-1 is necessary for breast cancer cells to metastasize in vivo, and that a classifier comprising genes that are expressed in a Fra-1-dependent fashion can predict breast cancer outcome. Here, we show that Fra-1 plays an important role also in colon cancer progression. Whereas Fra-1 depletion does not affect 2D proliferation of human colon cancer cells, it impairs growth in soft agar and in suspension. Consistently, subcutaneous tumors formed by Fra-1-depleted colon cancer cells are three times smaller than those produced by control cells. Most remarkably, when injected intravenously, Fra-1 depletion causes a 200-fold reduction in tumor burden. Moreover, a Fra-1 classifier generated by comparing RNA profiles of parental and Fra-1-depleted colon cancer cells can predict the prognosis of colon cancer patients. Functional pathway analysis revealed Wnt as one of the central pathways in the classifier, suggesting a possible mechanism of Fra-1 function in colon cancer metastasis. Our results demonstrate that Fra-1 is an important determinant of the metastatic potential of human colon cancer cells, and that the Fra-1 classifier can be used as a prognostic predictor in colon cancer patients.

More about this publication

  • Volume 6
  • Issue nr. 41
  • Pages 43146-61
  • Publication date 22-12-2015

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