Liver cancer is among the leading global healthcare issues associated with high morbidity and mortality. Liver cancer consists of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), hepatoblastoma (HB), and several other rare tumors. Progression has been witnessed in understanding the interactions between etiological as well as environmental factors and the host in the development of liver cancers. However, the pathogenesis remains poorly understood, hampering the design of rational strategies aiding in preventing liver cancers. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that aberrant activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays an important role in the initiation and progression of HCC, CCA, and HB. Targeting Wnt/β-catenin signaling potentiates a novel avenue for liver cancer treatment, which may benefit from the development of numerous small-molecule inhibitors and biologic agents in this field. In this review, we discuss the interaction between various etiological factors and components of Wnt/β-catenin signaling early in the precancerous lesion and the acquired mechanisms to further enhance Wnt/β-catenin signaling to promote robust cancer formation at later stages. Additionally, we shed light on current relevant inhibitors tested in liver cancers and provide future perspectives for preclinical and clinical liver cancer studies.

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Keywords CCA, HB, HCC, Liver cancer, Precancerous lesion, Wnt/β-catenin signaling
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Journal Cancers
Wang, W, Smits, M.J.M, Hao, H. (Haiping), & He, C. (Chaoyong). (2019). Wnt/β-catenin signaling in liver cancers. Cancers (Vol. 11). doi:10.3390/cancers11070926