The Wnt pathway has been found to play a role in the development of many tissues and to spur growth and differentiation of adult osteoblasts, sparking interest in its potential clinical application for bone growth. However, when deregulated, this pathway can be oncogenic in some tissues. In this issue of the JCI, Kansara and colleagues reveal that Wnt inhibitory factor 1 is epigenetically silenced in human osteosarcomas and that its absence augments osteosarcoma formation in mice (see the related article beginning on page 837). These observations suggest the need for caution in stimulating the Wnt pathway for therapeutic bone growth.
Greg H. Enders