Wnt-cadherin connections in normal and neoplastic mammary epithelium

J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2003 Oct;8(4):435-47. doi: 10.1023/B:JOMG.0000017430.12210.37.


Since the early recognition that the murine Wnt locus is frequently activated by insertion of the mouse mammary tumour virus, the Wnt pathway has become increasingly associated with both normal and abnormal mammary gland development. This link is further underlined by an emerging role for Wnt deregulation in human mammary neoplasia. The control of transcription through the Wnt signaling pathway is clearly a prime element of this role; however, components of the Wnt pathway possess many functions in addition to their signaling activity, interacting with multiple factors implicated in cellular control processes. Prominent amongst these are the cadherins, which have characterized roles in mediating cell-cell adhesion, and which have been independently implicated in mammary neoplasia. The close interplay between these 2 systems will be discussed in this review with reference both to the normal development of the mammary gland and to the onset of neoplasia in this tissue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / growth & development
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / deficiency
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Wnt Proteins


  • Cadherins
  • FAT1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • fat1 protein, mouse