Many cancers have similar aberrations in various signaling cascades with crucial roles in cellular proliferation, differentiation, and morphogenesis. Dysregulation of signal cascades that play integral roles during early cellular development is well known to be a central feature of many malignancies. One such signaling cascade is the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, which has a profound effect on stem cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation. This pathway is dysregulated in numerous cell types, underscoring its global oncogenetic potential. This review highlights regulators and downstream effectors of this receptor cascade and addresses the increasingly apparent crosstalk of Wnt with other tumorigenic signaling pathways. As understanding of the genetic and epigenetic changes unique to these malignancies increases, identifying the regulatory mechanisms unique to the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and similarly aberrant receptor pathways will be imperative.
Keywords: Cell signaling; Glioma stem cell; Tumorigenicity; Wnt; β-catenin.