Targeting Wnt/β-catenin pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma treatment

Valery Vilchez, Lilia Turcios, Francesc Marti, Roberto Gedaly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

252 Scopus citations


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death worldwide. Liver cancer is generally related to hepatitis B or C infection and cirrhosis. Usually, patients with HCC are asymptomatic and are diagnosed at late stages when surgical treatment is no longer suitable. Limited treatment options for patients with advanced HCC are a major concern. Therefore, there is an urge for finding novel therapies to treat HCC. Liver cancer is highly heterogeneous and involved deregulation of several signaling pathways. Wnt/β-catenin pathway is frequently upregulated in HCC and it is implicated in maintenance of tumor initiating cells, drug resistance, tumor progression, and metastasis. A great effort in developing selective drugs to target components of the β-catenin pathway with anticancer activity is underway but only a few of them have reached phase I clinical trials. We aim to review the role of β-catenin pathway on hepatocarcinogenesis and liver cancer stem cell maintenance. We also evaluated the use of small molecules targeting the Wnt/β-catenin pathway with potential application for treatment of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-832
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver cancer stem cells
  • Molecular therapy
  • Wnt/β-catenin pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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