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Breast Cancer Res. 2001;3(6):351-5. Epub 2001 Sep 6.

Wnt signaling in breast cancer: have we come full circle?

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Strang Cancer Prevention Center, New York 10021, USA.


Since the original identification of Wnt1 as a mammary oncogene in mouse mammary tumor virus infected mice, questions have been asked about its relevance to human breast cancer. Wnt1 is now known to be one of a large family of Wnt genes encoding structurally similar secreted signaling proteins, several of which are functionally redundant. The principal intracellular signaling pathway activated by these proteins has been elucidated in recent years. Components of this pathway include proto-oncogene products, such as beta-catenin, and tumor suppressor proteins such as APC. Although WNT1 itself has not been implicated in human breast neoplasms, it has been reported that other WNT genes are sometimes overexpressed in human breast cancer and there is growing evidence that downstream components of the Wnt signaling pathway are activated in a significant proportion of breast tumors.

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