The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway functions as an organizer in embryonic development. Genetic analysis has demonstrated a critical role for the Hh pathway in mammary gland morphogenesis. Disruption of Patched1, a component of the Hh pathway, results in abnormal growth of mammary duct. Recent studies have shown constitutive activation of the Hh pathway in various types of malignancies. However, it remains unclear whether this pathway is activated in human breast cancer. Here, we determined the expression of the components, including Sonic Hh, Patched1, and Gli1, of the Hh pathway by immunohistochemical staining in a series of 52 human breast carcinomas. All of 52 tumors display staining of high intensity for Gli1 when compared with adjacent normal tissue. The nuclear staining ratio of Gli1 correlates with expression of estrogen receptor and histologic type. Exposure to cyclopamine, a steroidal alkaloid that blocks the Hh pathway, suppresses expression of Gli1 and the growth of the Hh pathway-activated breast carcinoma cells. These data indicate that the Hh pathway is a new candidate for therapeutic target of breast cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research