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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A possible role for the WNT-1 pathway in oral carcinogenesis.

Reductions in cell-cell adhesion and stromal and vascular invasion are essential steps in the progression from localized malignancy to metastatic disease for all cancers. Proteins involved in intercellular adhesion, such as E-cadherin and catenin, probably play an important role in metastatic processes and cellular differentiation. While E-cadherin and beta-catenin expression has been extensively studied in many forms of human cancers, less is known about the role of the Wingless-Type-1 (WNT-1) pathway in human tumors. A large body of genetic and biochemical evidence has identified beta-catenin as a key downstream component of the WNT signaling pathway, and recent studies of colorectal tumors have shown a functional link among beta-catenin, adenomatous polyposis coli gene product (APC), and other components of the WNT-1 pathway. WNT-1 pathway signaling is thought to be mediated via interactions between beta-catenin and members of the LEF-1/TCF family of transcription factors. The WNT signal stabilizes beta-catenin protein and promotes its accumulation in the cytoplasm and nucleus. In the nucleus, beta-catenin associates with TCF to form a functional transcription factor which mediates the transactivation of target genes involved in the promotion of tumor progression, invasion, and metastasis, such as C-Myc, cyclin D1, c-jun, fra-1, and u-PAR. There is a strong correlation between the ability of the WNT-1 gene to induce beta-catenin accumulation and its transforming potential in vivo, suggesting that the WNT-1 gene activates an intracellular signaling pathway that can induce the morphological transformation of cells. For these reasons, data obtained from the study of the WNT-1 pathway could be important in our understanding of the mechanisms of epithelial tumors, in general, and probably also of oral squamous cell carcinoma, in particular.[1]


  1. A possible role for the WNT-1 pathway in oral carcinogenesis. Lo Muzio, L. Crit. Rev. Oral Biol. Med. (2001) [Pubmed]
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