What is the role of the WNT signaling pathway in the etiology of colon cancer?

Updated: Apr 15, 2020
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

Activation of the WNT signaling pathway, which most often results from APC loss, plays a critical role in the development of colorectal cancer, and CTNNB1 (β-catenin) is a major mediator of the WNT pathway. WNT-CTNNB1 signaling also appears to be involved in obesity, glucose metabolism, and metabolic diseases such as obesity and type II diabetes. Consequently, Morikawa et al hypothesized that the association of obesity and physical activity with colorectal cancer risk might differ by tumor subtypes according to CTNNB1 status. [20]

Using a molecular pathological epidemiology database, these researchers determined that risk of CTNNB1-negative cancer was significantly higher with greater BMI and lower with increased physical activity level. These researchers found no association between either BMI or physical activity level and CTNNB1-positive cancer risk. [20]


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