Background: Notch is a cell signaling pathway that is highly conserved in all metazoans
and is the master responsible for cell differentiation and cross communication with other signaling
pathways such as Wingless and Hedgehog. In most cancers, the Notch signaling pathway is
altered, causing normal controls of vital processes such as cell cycle, differentiation and apoptosis
to be compromised, leading the cell to a carcinogenic state. However, the inherent nature of the
Notch signaling pathway of regulating the activation or repression of other signaling pathways related
to differentiation and cell cycle has caused the strategies against breast cancer to be even
more specialized and to know more efficiently the suitable method againts the disease.
Methods: Different bibliographies and articles related to the Notch pathway and the biology of
cancer were reviewed, especially with breast cancer, as well as the participation of other signaling
pathways directly and indirectly related to the constitutive activation of the Notch pathway and relating
the threads loose to create a general conceptual map of the wide effects of the malfunction
of the Notch pathway in this disease so that we can understand from another point of view how
this flow of information can be controlled.
Results: The study of Notch signaling during more than a decade has gave us new clues to elucidate
the mechanisms of their finely orchestrated molecular functioning and how this signaling path
interacts with another signaling pathways in differentiation, survival, cell cycle and apoptosis.
Notch Signaling is a professional in the process of differentiation and cross-talk communication
with another signaling pathways, especially with the WNT and Hh pathways. The responsibility of
WNT pathway is to maintain the survival and growth controls, having direct effects on the cell cycle
and the Hh pathway is to maintain a state of diferentiation trought the life of the cell and the
cell migration instead, cell cycle and the response to growth stimuli of angiogenesis, exacerbated
characteristics of many breast cancer.
Conclusion: This review highlights the complex communication network between the WNT, Hh
and Notch Signaling and the therapies in the field of cancer that are not entirely effective, however,
most of the therapies that are currently being developed are including the Notch Signaling as
a target quite promising and is for its regulatory effect with other signaling pathways.