The crosstalk of multiple cellular signaling pathways is crucial in animal development and tissue homeostasis, and its dysregulation may result in tumor formation and metastasis. The Hedgehog (Hh) and Wnt signaling pathways are both considered to be essential regulators of cell proliferation, differentiation and oncogenesis. Recent studies have indicated that the Hh and Wnt signaling pathways are closely associated and involved in regulating embryogenesis and cellular differentiation. Hh signaling acts upstream of the Wnt signaling pathway, and negative regulates Wnt activity via secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1), and the Wnt/β-catenin pathway downregulates Hh activity through glioma-associated oncogene homolog 3 transcriptional regulation. This evidence suggests that the imbalance of Hh and Wnt regulation serves a crucial role in cancer-associated processes. The activation of SFRP1, which inhibits Wnt, has been demonstrated to be an important cross-point between the two signaling pathways. The present study reviews the complex interaction between the Hh and Wnt signaling pathways in embryogenesis and tumorigenicity, and the role of SFRP1 as an important mediator associated with the dysregulation of the Hh and Wnt signaling pathways.
Keywords: Hedgehog signaling pathway; Wnt signaling pathway; interaction; secreted frizzled-related protein 1.