Activity in the Hedgehog pathway, which regulates GLI-mediated transcription, is important in organogenesis and stem cell regulation in self-renewing organs, but is pathologically elevated in many human malignancies. Mutations leading to constitutive activation of the pathway have been implicated in medulloblastoma and basal cell carcinoma, and inhibition of the pathway has demonstrated clinical responses leading to the approval of the Smoothened inhibitor, vismodegib, for the treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma. Aberrant Hedgehog pathway signaling has also been noted in prostate cancer with evidence suggesting that it may render prostate epithelial cells tumorigenic, drive the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and contribute towards the development of castration-resistance through autocrine and paracrine signaling within the tumor microenvironment and cross-talk with the androgen pathway. In addition, there are emerging clinical data suggesting that inhibition of the Hedgehog pathway may be effective in the treatment of recurrent and metastatic prostate cancer. Here we will review these data and highlight areas of active clinical research as they relate to Hedgehog pathway inhibition in prostate cancer.
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- Hedgehog pathway
- Prostate cancer