Activation of the hedgehog-signaling pathway in human cancer and the clinical implications

L. Yang, G. Xie, Q. Fan, J. Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

222 Scopus citations


The hedgehog pathway, initially discovered by two Nobel laureates Drs E Wieschaus and C Nusslein-Volhard in Drosophila, is a major regulator for cell differentiation, tissue polarity and cell proliferation. Studies from many laboratories reveal activation of this pathway in a variety of human cancer, including basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), medulloblastomas, leukemia, gastrointestinal, lung, ovarian, breast and prostate cancers. It is thus believed that targeted inhibition of hedgehog signaling may be effective in treatment and prevention of human cancer. Even more exciting is the discovery and synthesis of specific signaling antagonists for the hedgehog pathway, which have significant clinical implications in novel cancer therapeutics. In this review, we will summarize major advances in the last 2 years in our understanding of hedgehog signaling activation in human cancer, interactions between hedgehog signaling and other pathways in carcinogenesis, potential antagonists for hedgehog signaling inhibition and their clinical implications for human cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-481
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials and animal model
  • Hedgehog
  • Signal transduction
  • Smoothened

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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