Clinical implications of hedgehog signaling pathway inhibitors

Hailan Liu, Dongsheng Gu, Jingwu Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Scopus citations


Hedgehog was first described in Drosophila melanogaster by the Nobel laureates Eric Wieschaus and Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. The hedgehog (Hh) pathway is a major regulator of cell differentiation, proliferation, tissue polarity, stem cell maintenance, and carcinogenesis. The first link of Hh signaling to cancer was established through studies of a rare familial disease, Gorlin syndrome, in 1996. Follow-up studies revealed activation of this pathway in basal cell carcinoma, medulloblastoma and, leukemia as well as in gastrointestinal, lung, ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer. Targeted inhibition of Hh signaling is now believed to be effective in the treatment and prevention of human cancer. The discovery and synthesis of specific inhibitors for this pathway are even more exciting. In this review, we summarize major advances in the understanding of Hh signaling pathway activation in human cancer, mouse models for studying Hh-mediated carcinogenesis, the roles of Hh signaling in tumor development and metastasis, antagonists for Hh signaling and their clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalChinese Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


  • Animal model
  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Hedgehog
  • PTCH1
  • Signal transduction
  • Smoothened

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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