Hippo Signaling at the Hallmarks of Cancer and Drug Resistance

Cells. 2024 Mar 22;13(7):564. doi: 10.3390/cells13070564.


Originally identified in Drosophila melanogaster in 1995, the Hippo signaling pathway plays a pivotal role in organ size control and tumor suppression by inhibiting proliferation and promoting apoptosis. Large tumor suppressors 1 and 2 (LATS1/2) directly phosphorylate the Yki orthologs YAP (yes-associated protein) and its paralog TAZ (also known as WW domain-containing transcription regulator 1 [WWTR1]), thereby inhibiting their nuclear localization and pairing with transcriptional coactivators TEAD1-4. Earnest efforts from many research laboratories have established the role of mis-regulated Hippo signaling in tumorigenesis, epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), oncogenic stemness, and, more recently, development of drug resistances. Hippo signaling components at the heart of oncogenic adaptations fuel the development of drug resistance in many cancers for targeted therapies including KRAS and EGFR mutants. The first U.S. food and drug administration (US FDA) approval of the imatinib tyrosine kinase inhibitor in 2001 paved the way for nearly 100 small-molecule anti-cancer drugs approved by the US FDA and the national medical products administration (NMPA). However, the low response rate and development of drug resistance have posed a major hurdle to improving the progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of cancer patients. Accumulating evidence has enabled scientists and clinicians to strategize the therapeutic approaches of targeting cancer cells and to navigate the development of drug resistance through the continuous monitoring of tumor evolution and oncogenic adaptations. In this review, we highlight the emerging aspects of Hippo signaling in cross-talk with other oncogenic drivers and how this information can be translated into combination therapy to target a broad range of aggressive tumors and the development of drug resistance.

Keywords: EGFR; KRAS; cancer; carcinogenesis; combination therapy; drug resistance; hippo signaling.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance*
  • Hippo Signaling Pathway*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / pathology
  • United States


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins