Research Papers:

Effects of RAL signal transduction in KRAS- and BRAF-mutated cells and prognostic potential of the RAL signature in colorectal cancer

Balázs Győrffy, Iwona Stelniec-Klotz, Christian Sigler, Katharina Kasack, Torben Redmer, Yu Qian and Reinhold Schäfer _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:13334-13346. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3871

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Balázs Győrffy1,2,3,*, Iwona Stelniec-Klotz4,*, Christian Sigler4, Katharina Kasack4,5, Torben Redmer4,5, Yu Qian4 and Reinhold Schäfer4,5

1 MTA TTK Lendület Cancer Biomarker Research Group, Budapest, Hungary

2 Semmelweis University, 2nd Department of Pediatrics, Budapest, Hungary

3 MTA-SE Pediatrics and Nephrology Research Group, Budapest, Hungary

4 Laboratories of Functional Genomics and Molecular Tumor Pathology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

5 German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Reinhold Schäfer, email:

Balázs Győrffy, email:

Keywords: colon cancer, progression free survival, signal transduction

Received: October 24, 2014 Accepted: April 02, 2015 Published: April 19, 2015


Our understanding of oncogenic signaling pathways has strongly fostered current concepts for targeted therapies in metastatic colorectal cancer. The RALA pathway is novel candidate due to its independent role in controlling expression of genes downstream of RAS.

We compared RALA GTPase activities in three colorectal cancer cell lines by GTPase pull-down assay and analyzed the transcriptional and phenotypic effects of transient RALA silencing. Knocking-down RALA expression strongly diminished the active GTP-bound form of the protein. Proliferation of KRAS mutated cell lines was significantly reduced, while BRAF mutated cells were mostly unaffected. By microarray analysis we identified common genes showing altered expression upon RALA silencing in all cell lines. None of these genes were affected when the RAF/MAPK or PI3K pathways were blocked.

To investigate the potential clinical relevance of the RALA pathway and its associated transcriptome, we performed a meta-analysis interrogating progression-free survival of colorectal cancer patients of five independent data sets using Cox regression. In each dataset, the RALA-responsive signature correlated with worse outcome.

In summary, we uncovered the impact of the RAL signal transduction on genetic program and growth control in KRAS- and BRAF-mutated colorectal cells and demonstrated prognostic potential of the pathway-responsive gene signature in cancer patients.

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