Wnt signaling is one of the central mechanisms regulating tissue morphogenesis during embryogenesis and repair. The pivot of this signaling cascade is the Wnt ligand, which binds to receptors belonging to the Frizzled family or the ROR1/ROR2 and RYK family. This interaction governs the downstream signaling cascade (canonical/non-canonical), ultimately extending its effect on the cellular cytoskeleton, transcriptional control of proliferation and differentiation, and organelle dynamics. Anomalous Wnt signaling has been associated with several cancers, the most prominent ones being colorectal, breast, lung, oral, cervical, and hematopoietic malignancies. It extends its effect on tumorigenesis by modulating the tumor microenvironment via fine crosstalk between transformed cells and infiltrating immune cells, such as leukocytes. This review is an attempt to highlight the latest developments in the understanding of Wnt signaling in the context of tumors and their microenvironment. A dynamic process known as immunoediting governs the fate of tumor progression based on the correlation of various signaling pathways in the tumor microenvironment and immune cells. Cancer cells also undergo a series of mutations in the tumor suppressor gene, which favors tumorigenesis. Wnt signaling, and its crosstalk with various immune cells, has both negative as well as positive effects on tumor progression. On one hand, it helps in the maintenance and renewal of the leucocytes. On the other hand, it promotes immune tolerance, limiting the antitumor response. Wnt signaling also plays a role in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), thereby promoting the maintenance of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs). Furthermore, we have summarized the ongoing strategies used to target aberrant Wnt signaling as a novel therapeutic intervention to combat various cancers and their limitations.
Keywords: anti-tumor response; immune response; immunotherapy; signaling; β-catenin.
Copyright © 2019 Patel, Alam, Pant and Chattopadhyay.
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