WNT Pathway Biomarker

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What is the Wnt signaling pathway?

The Wnt signaling pathway is a complex signaling pathway responsible for the maintenance of the intestines. Cells are rapidly lost due to the harsh nature and contents within the intestines. The Wnt signaling pathway helps regulate the production of new cells to replace those that are continuously lost. Mutations in key players (proteins) of this pathway lead to dysregulation of cell growth and division, which may progress to cancer. Mutations in this pathway are found in the majority (over 90%) of colorectal cancers. Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is the most commonly mutated gene within this pathway, followed by CTNNB1 (that results in the production of the beta-catenin protein). APC mutations are also associated with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

How is the Wnt signaling pathway associated with biomarkers?

The expression of many of the components of the Wnt signaling pathway, as well as downstream target genes, are dysregulated in colorectal cancer.

There are currently no recommendations for testing genes or proteins associated with the Wnt signaling pathway in colorectal cancer. However, there are ongoing efforts to understand the potential of these genes and proteins to serve as potential biomarkers in colorectal cancer. Specifically, research is focused on understanding whether expression of these genes and proteins can be used as a prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer.

What are the treatment options?

There are currently no treatments targeting the Wnt signaling pathway. However, targeting the Wnt pathway is something of great interest to researchers to enhance treatment effectiveness.

How to find clinical trials

Use of Wnt signaling inhibitors for treating colorectal cancer, as well as other cancers, are being tested in clinical trials. Talk to your medical team to determine if you may benefit from a clinical trial.

Check out Fight CRC’s Clinical Trial Finder to search for trials, and read our Clinical Trials Conversations blog for insights.

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