Hedgehog Signaling in Mammary Gland Development and Breast Cancer

  • Adriana P. Visbal
  • Michael T. LewisEmail author


The Hedgehog signal transduction network is an essential regulator of metazoan embryonic development and functions in tissue homeostasis in the adult. In the mammary gland, this network mediates epithelial–stromal interactions regulating branching morphogenesis and histoarchitecture of mammary ducts, and may control alveolar differentiation. Inappropriate activation of the Hedgehog network is associated with a wide variety of cancers, including breast. Genetic evidence in mice, as well as molecular biological studies in human cells, demonstrated that activated signaling can lead to mammary hyperplasia and, in some cases, tumor formation. However, the mechanism(s) by which Hedgehog signaling regulates normal gland development, and exactly how activated Hedgehog signaling contributes to development or progression of breast cancer remain unclear. Because evidence of inappropriate activation of Hedgehog signaling is observed in some breast cancers, and network activity is associated with breast cancer cell self-renewal, the Hedgehog network has become a leading candidate for the development of targeted therapeutics.


Mammary Gland Basal Cell Carcinoma Primary Cilium Hedgehog Signaling Mammary Gland Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Lester and Sue Smith Breast CenterBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and RadiologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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