β-Catenin plays important roles in mammary development and tumorigenesis through its functions in cell adhesion, signal transduction and regulation of cell-context-specific gene expression. Studies in mice have highlighted the critical role of β-catenin signaling for stem cell biology at multiple stages of mammary development. Deregulated β-catenin signaling disturbs stem and progenitor cell dynamics and induces mammary tumors in mice. Recent data showing deregulated β-catenin signaling in metaplastic and basal-type tumors suggest a similar link to reactivated developmental pathways and human breast cancer. The present review will discuss β-catenin as a central transducer of numerous signaling pathways and its role in mammary development and breast cancer.
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