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Carcinogenesis. 2012 Mar;33(3):483-91. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgr305. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Modulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway by bioactive food components.

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Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Medical Sciences Center, #B-25, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, one of the most conserved intercellular signaling cascade, is a known regulator of cellular functions related to tumor initiation and progression, cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and adhesion. Because aberrant Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been observed in a variety of human cancers including a majority of colorectal cancers, about half of prostate cancers and a third of melanomas, inhibitors of its complex signaling pathways are being investigated for therapy as well as chemoprevention of these cancers. During the last decade, several naturally occurring dietary agents have been shown to target intermediates in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. In this review, we highlight the current understanding of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and present an analysis of the key findings from laboratory studies on the effects of a panel of dietary agents against a variety of cancers. Promise of these agents for treating and preventing human cancer is then discussed.

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