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World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. 2011 Dec 15;2(6):103-8. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v2.i6.103.

Role of Sonic Hedgehog signaling during progression from inflammation to cancer in the stomach.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0576, USA.


Despite advances in treatment and the declining incidence, gastric cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Understanding the progression from inflammation to cancer in the stomach is crucial in the development of novel therapies and strategies for treating this disease. Chronic inflammation of the stomach is typically caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and resulting lesions may lead to gastric cancer. During the progression from inflammation to cancer, the stomach epithelium changes with evidence of the disruption of normal epithelial cell differentiation and infiltrating inflammatory cells. Coincident with the development of atrophic gastritis and metaplasia, is the loss of the gastric morphogen Sonic Hedgehog (Shh). Given its critical role as a regulator of gastric tissue homeostasis, the disruption of Shh expression during inflammation correlates with the loss of normal epithelial cell differentiation, but this has only recently been rigorously tested in vivo using a unique mouse model of targeted gastric Shh deletion. While pre-neoplastic lesions such as atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia are associated with the loss of Shh within the acid-secreting glands of the stomach, there is a clear link between elevated Shh and signaling to gastric cancers. The current review focuses on the effects of aberrant Shh expression and its role in the development of gastric cancer, specifically in response to H. pylori infection.


Acid secretion; Gastric tissue homeostasis; Helicobacter pylori; Interleukin-1β

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