The Central Role of Wnt Signaling and Organoid Technology in Personalizing Anticancer Therapy

Elizabeth Vincan, Renate H.M. Schwab, Dustin J. Flanagan, Jean M. Moselen, Bang M. Tran, Nick Barker, Toby J. Phesse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Wnt pathway is at the heart of organoid technology, which is set to revolutionize the cancer field. We can now predetermine a patient's response to any given anticancer therapy by exposing tumor organoids established from the patient's own tumor. This cutting-edge biomedical platform translates to patients being treated with the correct drug at the correct dose from the outset, a truly personalized and precise medical approach. A high throughput drug screen on organoids also allows drugs to be tested in limitless combinations. More recently, the tumor cells that are resistant to the therapy given to a patient were selected in culture using the patient's organoids. The resistant tumor organoids were then screened empirically to identify drugs that will kill the resistant cells. This information allows diagnosis in real-time to either prevent tumor recurrence or effectively treat the recurring tumor. Furthermore, the ability to culture stem cell-derived epithelium as organoids has enabled us to begin to understand how a stem cell becomes a cancer cell or to pin-point the genetic alteration that underlies a given genetic syndrome. Here we summarize these advances and the central role of Wnt signaling, and identify the next challenges for organoid technology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
Subtitle of host publicationWNT Signaling in Health and Disease
EditorsJuan Larrain, Gonzalo Olivares
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780128114292
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
PublisherAcademic Press
ISSN (Print)1877-1173
ISSN (Electronic)1878-0814


  • Frizzled
  • high throughput drug screen
  • Lgr5
  • organoids
  • personalized medicine
  • stem cell
  • tumor organoids
  • Wnt
  • Wnt pathway

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