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

Abstract

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.

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Tabatabai, R., Linhares, Y., Bolos, D. et al. Targeting the Wnt Pathway in Cancer: A Review of Novel Therapeutics. Targ Oncol 12, 623–641 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11523-017-0507-4

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