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Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Sep 15;18(18):4883-8. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2509. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Molecular pathways: the hedgehog signaling pathway in cancer.

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  • 1The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, CRB245, 1650 Orleans Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway regulates embryonic development and may be aberrantly activated in a wide variety of human cancers. Efforts to target pathogenic Hh signaling have steadily progressed from the laboratory to the clinic, and the recent approval of the Hh pathway inhibitor vismodegib for patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma represents an important milestone. On the other hand, Hh pathway antagonists have failed to show significant clinical activity in other solid tumors. The reasons for these negative results are not precisely understood, but it is possible that the impact of Hh pathway inhibition has not been adequately measured by the clinical endpoints used thus far or that aberrancies in Hh signal transduction limits the activity of currently available pathway antagonists. Further basic and correlative studies to better understand Hh signaling in human tumors and validate putative antitumor mechanisms in the clinical setting may ultimately improve the success of Hh pathway inhibition to other tumor types.

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