The Role of Wnt Signal in Glioblastoma Development and Progression: A Possible New Pharmacological Target for the Therapy of This Tumor.


Zuccarini M, Giuliani P, Ziberi S, Carluccio M, Iorio PD, Caciagli F, Ciccarelli R

Genes (Basel) Feb 17, 2018


Wnt is a complex signaling pathway involved in the regulation of crucial biological functions such as development, proliferation, differentiation and migration of cells, mainly stem cells, which are virtually present in all embryonic and adult tissues. Conversely, dysregulation of Wnt signal is implicated in development/progression/invasiveness of different kinds of tumors, wherein a certain number of multipotent cells, namely “cancer stem cells”, are characterized by high self-renewal and aggressiveness. Hence, the pharmacological modulation of Wnt pathway could be of particular interest, especially in tumors for which the current standard therapy results to be unsuccessful. This might be the case of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), one of the most lethal, aggressive and recurrent brain cancers, probably due to the presence of highly malignant GBM stem cells (GSCs) as well as to a dysregulation of Wnt system. By examining the most recent literature, here we point out several factors in the Wnt pathway that are altered in human GBM and derived GSCs, as well as new molecular strategies or experimental drugs able to modulate/inhibit aberrant Wnt signal. Altogether, these aspects serve to emphasize the existence of alternative pharmacological targets that may be useful to develop novel therapies for GBM.

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