Targeted Oncology

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 623–641 | Cite as

Targeting the Wnt Pathway in Cancer: A Review of Novel Therapeutics

  • Roya TabatabaiEmail author
  • Yuliya Linhares
  • David Bolos
  • Monica Mita
  • Alain Mita
Review Article


Wnt signaling is an evolutionarily conserved pathway that controls cell-to-cell interactions during embryogenesis. In adults, Wnt signaling plays a role in tissue homeostasis in almost every organ system. Aberrations within this pathway are implicated in a spectrum of human diseases. A variety of perturbations have been described in both solid and hematologic malignancies, lending way to Wnt signaling as a target for anti-cancer therapy. Of particular interest is the role of Wnt signaling in the development and maintenance of cancer stem cells, a rare population of cells that are able to maintain a tumor via self-renewal and thought to be more resistant to chemotherapy than bulk tumor cells. The ability to eradicate cancer stem cells may decrease the risk of cancer relapse and metastasis. A number of therapeutic agents specifically targeting the Wnt pathway have entered clinical trials, either as monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy. We will provide an overview of agents that have been developed to target the Wnt pathways and a summary of pre-clinical and clinical trials.


Compliance with Ethical Standards



Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hematology and OncologyCedars Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA

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