Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for 90% of all kidney cancers. Due to poor diagnosis, high resistance to the systemic therapies and the fact that most RCC cases occur sporadically, current research switched its focus on studying the molecular mechanisms underlying RCC. The aim is the discovery of new effective and less toxic anti-cancer drugs and novel diagnostic markers. Besides the PI3K/Akt/mTOR, HGF/Met and VHL/hypoxia cellular signaling pathways, the involvement of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in RCC is commonly studied. Wnt signaling and its targeted genes are known to actively participate in different biological processes during embryonic development and renal cancer. Recently, studies have shown that targeting this pathway by alternating/inhibiting its intracellular signal transduction can reduce cancer cells viability and inhibit their growth. The targets and drugs identified show promising potential to serve as novel RCC therapeutics and prognostic markers. This review aims to summarize the current status quo regarding recent research on RCC focusing on the involvement of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and how its understanding could facilitate the identification of potential therapeutic targets, new drugs and diagnostic biomarkers.
Keywords: Wnt signaling pathway; development; renal cell carcinoma; therapeutic target.