The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway: a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer

J Cell Biochem. 2012 Jan;113(1):13-8. doi: 10.1002/jcb.23350.


Breast cancer continues to be a serious health problem particularly in developed countries. Of particular concern is triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) which does not respond well to standard hormone therapy and is associated with poor overall patient prognosis. Recent studies indicate that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is particularly activated in TNBC, such that the Wnt receptor frizzled-7 (FZD7) and the Wnt co-receptor LRP6 were found to be up regulated in TNBC. In addition, it has been demonstrated that transcriptional knockdown of LRP6 or FZD7 in TNBC cells suppressed tumor growth in vivo. Furthermore, salinomycin, a selective breast cancer stem cell killer, was recently demonstrated to be an inhibitor of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by inducing LRP6 degradation. Therefore, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and particularly the Wnt receptors on the cell surface may serve as novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of TNBC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Frizzled Receptors / genetics
  • Frizzled Receptors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-6 / genetics
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-6 / metabolism*
  • Pyrans / pharmacology
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / drug effects
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / physiology*


  • FZD7 protein, human
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • LRP6 protein, human
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-6
  • Pyrans
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • salinomycin
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2