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Keywords:

  • cancer therapy;
  • colon cancer;
  • EpCAM;
  • siRNA;
  • tumor antigen;
  • Wnt/β-catenin

Abstract

Colon cancer is a type of malignant tumor that causes considerable mortality worldwide. Epithelial cellular adhesion molecule (EpCAM), a tumor-associated antigen of colon tumors, is a target for colon cancer therapy. EpCAM-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been applied in human colon cancer since the 1990s; however, the therapeutic effects are limited. EpCAM activates nuclear signaling pathways by releasing its intracellular domain (EpICD). The released EpICD stimulates the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, which is also strongly associated with tumorigenesis. EpCAM is also a target gene of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. EpCAM and the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway form a functional interaction cycle in colon cancer. Thus, we propose a new therapeutic drug for colon cancer: an EpCAM single-chain fragment variable antibody (scFv)-truncated protamine-siRNA. EpCAM scFv can recognize and bind colon cancer cells through its EpCAM antigen activity. Furthermore, the specific siRNA transferred into colon cancer cells specifically inhibits Wnt/β-catenin signal transmission. Therefore, this new drug may efficiently interrupt the functional cycle between EpCAM and Wnt/β-catenin signaling and be an effective therapeutic strategy for colon cancer.