Wnt (wingless-type) signaling pathway (WSP) alterations have been identified in patients with prostate cancer and are implicated in disease progression and hormonal resistance. In this study, we utilized a multi-institutional dataset to characterize molecular alterations in the canonical and noncanonical WSPs in prostate cancer. Patients with prostate cancer who underwent tissue-based genomic sequencing were investigated. Tumors with somatic activating mutations in CTNNB1 or RSPO2 or inactivating mutations in either APC or RNF43 were characterized as having aberrant canonical Wnt signaling (WSP-activated). Overall survival analyses were restricted to microsatellite-stable (MSS) tumors lacking RNF43 G659fs* mutations. We also investigated noncanonical WSP by evaluation of ROR1, ROR2, and WNT5 in WSP-activated versus WSP wild-type (WSP-WT) tumors. Of 4,138 prostate cancer samples, 3,684 were MSS. Among MSS tumors, 42.4% were from metastatic sites, of which 19.1% were WSP activated, and 57.6% were from the prostate, of which 10.1% were WSP activated. WSP-activated tumors were more prevalent in metastatic sites than in primary prostate cancer. WSP-activated prostate cancer exhibited more SPOP mutations and higher expression of canonical WSP activators than WSP-WT tumors. ROR1 gene expression was elevated in WSP-activated tumors from both primary and metastatic sites. M2 macrophages predominated the tumor microenvironment in WSP-activated tumors. There was no significant difference in overall survival between patients with WSP-activated and WSP-WT prostate cancer. WSP-activated prostate cancer demonstrated a more immunosuppressed tumor microenvironment and a pronounced upregulation of ROR1 gene expression, underscoring its potential involvement in the crosstalk between canonical and noncanonical WSPs.

Implications: Our findings may provide a rationale for developing novel therapeutic strategies targeting Wnt-activated prostate cancer.

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