Front. Endocrinol., 29 February 2012 |

Role of the Wnt pathway in thyroid cancer

  • Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas “Alberto Sols”, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, y Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Aberrant activation of Wnt signaling is involved in the development of several epithelial tumors. Wnt signaling includes two major types of pathways: (i) the canonical or Wnt/β-catenin pathway; and (ii) the non-canonical pathways, which do not involve β-catenin stabilization. Among these pathways, the Wnt/β-catenin pathway has received most attention during the past years for its critical role in cancer. A number of publications emphasize the role of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in thyroid cancer. This pathway plays a crucial role in development and epithelial renewal, and components such as β-catenin and Axin are often mutated in thyroid cancer. Although it is accepted that altered Wnt signaling is a late event in thyroid cell transformation that affects anaplastic thyroid tumors, recent data suggest that it is also altered in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) with RET/PTC mutations. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to summarize the main relevant data of Wnt signaling in thyroid cancer, with special emphasis on the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

Keywords: Wnt pathway, signaling network, thyroid cancer, proliferation, differentiation

Citation: Sastre-Perona A and Santisteban P (2012) Role of the Wnt pathway in thyroid cancer. Front. Endocrin. 3:31. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2012.00031

Received: 01 December 2011; Accepted: 09 February 2012;
Published online: 29 February 2012.

Edited by:

Carmelo Nucera, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, USA

Reviewed by:

Ettore Ciro Degli Uberti, University of Ferrara, Italy
Roberta Malaguarnera, University “Magna Graecia” of Catanzaro, Italy
Marialuisa Appetecchia, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute IRCCS, Italy

Copyright: © 2012 Sastre-Perona and Santisteban. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Pilar Santisteban, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, y Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/Arturo Duperier 4, 28029 Madrid, Spain. e-mail: