The Hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway was discovered originally as a key pathway in embryonic patterning and development. Since its discovery, it has become increasingly clear that the HH pathway also plays important roles in a multitude of cancers. Therefore, HH signaling has emerged as a therapeutic target of interest for cancer therapy. In this review, we provide a brief overview of HH signaling and the key molecular players involved and offer an up-to-date summary of our current knowledge of endogenous and exogenous small molecules that modulate HH signaling. We discuss experiences and lessons learned from the decades-long efforts toward the development of cancer therapies targeting the HH pathway. Challenges to develop next-generation cancer therapies are highlighted.
Keywords: GLI; basal cell carcinoma; cancer therapy; cholesterol; drug resistance; endogenous smoothened regulation; hedgehog signaling; medulloblastoma; smoothened; stem cell.
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