International Journal of Molecular Sciences vol:14 issue:7 pages:13979-14007
Activation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is implicated in the development and progression of several tumor types, including prostate cancer, which is still the most common non-skin malignancy and the third leading cause of cancer-related mortality in men in industrialized countries worldwide. Several studies have indicated that the Hh pathway plays a crucial role in the development as well as in the progression of this disease to more aggressive and even therapy-resistant disease states. Moreover, preclinical data have shown that inhibition of Hh signaling has the potential to reduce prostate cancer invasiveness and metastatic potential. Clinical trials investigating the benefit of Hh inhibitors in patients with prostate cancer have recently been initiated. However, acquired drug resistance has already been observed in other tumor types after long-term Hh inhibition. Therefore, combining Hh inhibitors with ionizing radiation, chemotherapy or other molecular targeted agents could represent an alternative therapeutic strategy. In this review, we will highlight the role of Hh signaling in the development and progression of prostate cancer and summarize the different therapeutic applications of Hedgehog inhibition.