The Role Played by Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Pathway in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Francesca Chiarini, Francesca Paganelli, Alberto M Martelli, Camilla Evangelisti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is an aggressive hematologic neoplastic disorder that arises from the clonal expansion of transformed T-cell or B-cell precursors. Thanks to progress in chemotherapy protocols, ALL outcome has significantly improved. However, drug-resistance remains an unresolved issue in the treatment of ALL and toxic effects limit dose escalation of current chemotherapeutics. Therefore, the identification of novel targeted therapies to support conventional chemotherapy is required. The Wnt/β-catenin pathway is a conserved signaling axis involved in several physiological processes such as development, differentiation, and adult tissue homeostasis. As a result, deregulation of this cascade is closely related to initiation and progression of various types of cancers, including hematological malignancies. In particular, deregulation of this signaling network is involved in the transformation of healthy HSCs in leukemic stem cells (LSCs), as well as cancer cell multi-drug-resistance. This review highlights the recent findings on the role of Wnt/β-catenin in hematopoietic malignancies and provides information on the current status of Wnt/β-catenin inhibitors with respect to their therapeutic potential in the treatment of ALL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 7 2020


  • Wnt/β-catenin
  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • hematopoietic stem cells
  • leukemic stem cells
  • signaling pathway
  • targeted therapy


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