Targeting hedgehog signaling in cancer: Research and clinical developments

Jingwu Xie, Christopher M. Bartels, Scott W. Barton, Dongsheng Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

53 Scopus citations


Since its first description in Drosophila by Drs Nusslein-Volhard and Wieschaus in 1980, hedgehog (Hh) signaling has been implicated in regulation of cell differentiation, proliferation, tissue polarity, stem cell maintenance, and carcinogenesis. The first link of Hh signaling to cancer was established through studies of Gorlin syndrome in 1996 by two independent teams. Later, it was shown that Hh signaling may be involved in many types of cancer, including skin, leukemia, lung, brain, and gastrointestinal cancers. In early 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the clinical use of Hh inhibitor Erivedge/vismodegib for treatment of locally advanced and metastatic basal cell carcinomas. With further investigation, it is possible to see more clinical applications of Hh signaling inhibitors. In this review, we will summarize major advances in the last 3 years in our understanding of Hh signaling activation in human cancer, and recent developments in preclinical and clinical studies using Hh signaling inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1425-1435
Number of pages11
JournalOncoTargets and Therapy
StatePublished - Oct 25 2013


  • Animal model
  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Hedgehog
  • Ptch1
  • Signal transduction
  • Smoothened

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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