Hedgehog signaling inhibitors in solid and hematological cancers

Jorge E. Cortes, Ralf Gutzmer, Mark W. Kieran, James A. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The hedgehog signaling pathway is normally tightly regulated. Mutations in hedgehog pathway components may lead to abnormal activation. Aberrantly activated hedgehog signaling plays a major role in the development of solid and hematological cancer. In recent years, inhibitors have been developed that attenuate hedgehog signaling; 2 have been approved for use in basal cell carcinoma (BCC), while others are under development or in clinical trials. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of known hedgehog inhibitors (HHIs) and their potential for the treatment of hematological cancers and solid tumors beyond BCC. Design: Published literature was searched to identify articles relating to HHIs in noncutaneous cancer. Both preclinical and clinical research articles were included. In addition, relevant clinical trial results were identified from www.clinicaltrials.gov. Information on the pharmacology of HHIs is also included. Results: HHIs show activity in a variety of solid and hematological cancers. In preclinical studies, HHIs demonstrated efficacy in pancreatic cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, breast cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In clinical studies, HHIs showed activity in medulloblastoma, as well as prostate, pancreatic, and hematological cancers. Current clinical trials testing the efficacy of HHIs are underway for prostate, pancreatic, and breast cancers, as well as multiple myeloma and AML. Conclusions: As clinical trial results become available, it will be possible to discern which additional tumor types are suited to HHI mono- or combination therapy with other anticancer agents. The latter strategy may be useful for delaying or overcoming drug resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Treatment Reviews
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Hedgehog inhibitors
  • Hedgehog signaling
  • Itraconazole
  • Sonidegib
  • Vismodegib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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