Expression of the Sonic hedgehog pathway in squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and the mucosa of the head and neck

Head Neck. 2011 Feb;33(2):244-50. doi: 10.1002/hed.21437.


Background: Activation of the hedgehog pathway may contribute to carcinogenesis. This study characterizes the expression pattern in squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and the head and neck.

Methods: Tissue microarrays were constructed with samples of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and the head and neck. All tissue samples were immunohistochemically stained for 7 Hedgehog pathway molecules.

Results: Significant (p < .0001) overexpression of all evaluated molecules could be observed in the tumor samples compared with healthy control tissues. Expression of Gli-2 showed significant upregulation and that of Smoothened and Patched significant downregulation in head and neck compared with skin carcinoma. High expression of Sonic hedgehog correlates significantly (p = .001) with poor overall survival in patients with head and neck cancer.

Conclusions: Hedgehog signaling is differentially regulated in squamous cell carcinomas of the skin and the head and neck. Sonic hedgehog expression may serve as a prognostic factor in patients with head and neck cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Hedgehog Proteins / genetics
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Array Analysis
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Up-Regulation
  • Zinc Finger Protein Gli2


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • GLI2 protein, human
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Zinc Finger Protein Gli2