The Wnt Pathway and its Role in Colorectal Cancer

S. Gail Eckhardt, MD, Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado Denver and Health Sciences Center, discusses the wnt pathway and its role in colorectal cancer.

S. Gail Eckhardt, MD, Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado Denver and Health Sciences Center, discusses the wnt pathway and its role in colorectal cancer.

Eckhardt says the wnt pathway is highly mutated in colorectal cancer and has been linked to the regulation of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene and stem cells.

In addition to being a target to treat colorectal cancer, Echkardt says, the wnt pathway is also an area of interest in pancreatic cancer because of the stem cell component.

As the wnt pathway is redundant and complex, Eckhardt says, a combination approach could be most beneficial.

In pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy would be used to de-bulk a tumor before a stem cell targeted wnt inhibitor is administered, Eckhardt says. In colorectal cancer, the MEK pathway and the wnt pathway are both targeted.

Clinical Pearls

  • The wnt pathway is highly mutated in colorectal cancer and has been linked to the regulation of the APC gene.
  • Since the wnt pathway is very redundant and complex, a combination approach is used when targeting the pathway.