Role of Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway in Cancer Signaling

  • Casey D. Stefanski
  • Jenifer R. ProsperiEmail author


Wnt/β-catenin signaling is a highly conserved pathway essential for cell development, proliferation, migration, polarity, and stem cell homeostasis. This pathway has also been implicated in tumor initiation and progression. Recent efforts have been made to develop therapies targeting Wnt/β-catenin signaling; however, the complexity of Wnt signaling has complicated their development. While targeting Wnt has potential beneficial effects, understanding when to activate or inhibit Wnt to impede cancer development and progression still needs to be elucidated. Conventionally, Wnt signaling activation has been associated with poor patient outcome; however, it was recently shown to enhance patient outcome in certain cancer subtypes. Wnt target therapy is still in early stages, and numerous clinical trials are investigating Wnt signaling modulators as potential treatments for cancer. There is still much to learn about Wnt signaling and its interactions with other pathways. The next essential step is to identify potential biomarkers to guide how to perturb Wnt signaling for the most effective clinical results.


Wnt/β-catenin signaling Cancer Chemotherapy Targeted therapy 



Adenomatous Polyposis Coli


CREB-binding protein


Casein Kinase 1


Catalogue of somatic mutations in cancer


Cancer stem cell






Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition


Familial adenomatous polyposis




Fusion protein containing the Fc region IgG fused to the cysteine-rich domain of FZD8


Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3β


Hepatocellular carcinoma


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

LGR 4–6

Leucine-rich repeat containing G-protein receptors


Lipoprotein receptor-related protein




Secreted frizzled-related proteins


T-cell factor/lymphoid enhance-binding factor




WNT inhibitory factors


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameSouth BendUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyIndiana University School of Medicine – South BendSouth BendUSA

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