Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2012 Jan;16(1):49-66. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2011.617367.

Targeting the Hedgehog signaling pathway for cancer therapy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.



Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway plays key roles in embryonic development, formation and maintenance of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and acquisition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Since CSCs and EMT are important biological factors responsible for cancer cell invasion, metastasis, drug resistance and tumor recurrence, the Hh signaling pathway is believed to be an important target for cancer therapy.


In recent years, small-molecule inhibitors of Hh signaling have been synthesized for cancer treatment. Clinical trials using these inhibitors are being conducted to determine their toxicity profiles and efficacies. In addition, nutraceuticals (such as isoflavones, curcumin, vitamin D, etc) have been shown to inhibit cancer growth through downregulation of Hh signaling.


Inhibition of Hh signaling is important for suppression of cancer growth, invasion, metastasis and recurrence in cancer therapy. However, targeting only one molecule in Hh signaling may not be sufficient to kill cancer cells because cancers show deregulation of multiple signals. Therefore, utilizing new technologies to determine alterations in Hh and other signals for individuals and designing combination strategies with small-molecule Hh inhibitors, nutraceuticals and other chemotherapeutics in targeted personalized therapy could have a significant effect on improving the overall survival of patients with cancers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk