Background: Worldwide, esophageal and gastric cancers are the two most frequent cancers
associated with the upper gastrointestinal tract. These two types of cancers alone account for nearly a
million deaths annually. Most patients when first diagnosed are already in advanced stage of the disease,
where frontline treatments such as surgical resection are ineffective. Alternative treatments such
as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapies are the remaining options for this group of inoperable
patients, though each of these treatment options has its own limitations and disadvantages. Discussion: To improve
current cancer management, new treatment directions are needed. In the recent decade, Wnt/β-catenin pathway is emerging
as a hallmark of various types of malignancies including esophageal and gastric cancers. Its activation is manifested
by alteration and deregulation of the core components of this pathway. Conclusion: Identification of key deregulated
components along this pathway has opened up a new avenue of research to combat esophageal and gastric cancers by targeting
these components to counteract tumorigenesis.
Keywords: Wnt, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, therapeutic target.
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