The role of WT1 in breast cancer: clinical implications, biological effects and molecular mechanism

Int J Biol Sci. 2020 Feb 24;16(8):1474-1480. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.39958. eCollection 2020.


Although Wilms' tumor gene 1 (WT1) was first cloned and identified as a tumor suppressor gene in nephroblastoma, subsequent studies have demonstrated that it can also play an oncogenic role in leukemia and various solid tumors. WT1 exerts biological functions with high tissue- and cell-specificity. This article reviews the relationship between WT1 and breast cancer from two aspects: (1) clinical application of WT1, including the relationship between expression of WT1 and prognosis of breast cancer patients, and its effectiveness as a target for comprehensive therapy of breast cancer; (2) the biological effects and molecular mechanisms of WT1 in the development and progression of breast cancer, including proliferation, apoptosis, invasion, and metastasis of breast cancer cells.

Keywords: WT1; breast neoplasms; carcinogenesis; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • WT1 Proteins / genetics*
  • WT1 Proteins / metabolism*


  • WT1 Proteins
  • WT1 protein, human