Author: Nat Pernick, M.D.

Revised: 30 March 2018, last major update August 2015

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: beta catenin[title]
Cite this page: Pernick, N. Beta-catenin. website. Accessed July 23rd, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Protein encoded by CTNNB1 gene, coordinates cell–cell adhesion and gene transcription (Wikipedia)
  • Part of Wnt signalling pathway, highly conserved pathway with critical role in embryologic development (Dev Cell 2009;17:9), carcinogenesis and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition
  • Upon Wnt activation, β-catenin is translocated from membrane (where it interacts with E-cadherin) to cytoplasm and nucleus, where it interacts with transcriptional activators
Clinical features
  • Mutations and overexpression of β-catenin are associated with various carcinomas
  • Colon: plays a critical role in tumorigenesis (mutations in APC or β-catenin present in 90% of colon cancers)
  • Thyroid: pathway important for anaplastic and possibly papillary thyroid carciomas (Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2012;3:31)
  • Uterus: endometrioid endometrial carcinoma is associated with β-catenin mutations
Diagrams / tables

Cadherins and catenins in signal transduction

Role of β-catenin in cell

Uses by pathologists
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Bladder: urothelial carcinoma and adenocarcinoma

Colon: serrated adenoma

Colon: normal and carcinoma

Liver: hepatoblastoma

Liver: metastatic
colorectal carcinoma
in sentinel lymph
node and liver

Soft tissue: liposarcoma

Soft tissue: solitary fibrous tumor

Synovial sarcoma

Positive staining - normal
  • Fibroblasts and endothelial cells (cytoplasmic-membranous staining)
Positive staining - disease
Negative staining
  • GIST, sclerosing mesenteritis, low grade fibromyxoid sarcoma, myofibroblastic or fibroblastic tumors