Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 199–207 | Cite as

Hedgehog signalling as a target in cancer stem cells

  • Vanessa MedinaEmail author
  • Moisés B. Calvo
  • Silvia Díaz-Prado
  • Jesús Espada
Educational Series Molecular Targets in Oncology


Hedgehog (Hh) is one of the most important signalling pathways. Together with the Wnt, TGF-β/BMP and Notch pathways, it is involved in both embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis. This is because Hh plays a central role in the proliferative control and differentiation of both embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. In this way, an alteration in the Hh pathway, either by misexpression of components of that pathway or by changes in the expression of other cellular components that interfere with the Hh signalling system, may trigger the development of several types of cancer. This occurs because normal stem cells or their intermediaries toward differentiated mature cells are not part of the normal proliferative/differentiation balance and begin to expand without control, triggering the generation of the so-called cancer stem cells. In this review, we will focus on the molecular aspects and the role of Hh signalling in normal tissues and in tumour development.


Hh (Hedgehog) Smoothened (Smo) Patched (Ptc) Gli Cancer Cancer stem cells 


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Copyright information

© Feseo 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Medina
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Moisés B. Calvo
    • 2
  • Silvia Díaz-Prado
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jesús Espada
    • 4
  1. 1.Oncology Research UnitUniversity Hospital A CoruñaA CoruñaSpain
  2. 2.Biomedical Research Institute of A Coruña (INIBIC)A CoruñaSpain
  3. 3.Medicine DepartmentUniversity of A CoruñaA CoruñaSpain
  4. 4.Biomedical Research Institute “Alberto Sols”CSIC-UAMMadridSpain
  5. 5.Teresa Herrera Hospital (annex building)A CoruñaSpain

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