A crucial requirement for Hedgehog signaling in small cell lung cancer

Kwon-Sik Park, Luciano Martelotto, Martin Peifer, Martin Sos, Anthony Karnezis, Moe Mahjoub, Katie Bernard, Jamie Conklin, Anette Szczepny, Jing Yuan, Ribo Guo, Beatriz Ospina, Jeanette Falzon, Samara Bennett, Tracey Brown, Ana Markovic, Wendy Devereux, Cory Ocasio, James Chen, Tim StearnsRoman Thomas, Marion Dorsch, Silvia Buonamici, David Watkins, Craig Peacock, Julien Sage

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215 Citations (Scopus)


Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine subtype of lung cancer for which there is no effective treatment. Using a mouse model in which deletion of Rb1 and Trp53 in the lung epithelium of adult mice induces SCLC, we found that the Hedgehog signaling pathway is activated in SCLC cells independently of the lung microenvironment. Constitutive activation of the Hedgehog signaling molecule Smoothened (Smo) promoted the clonogenicity of human SCLC in vitro and the initiation and progression of mouse SCLC in vivo. Reciprocally, deletion of Smo in Rb1 and Trp53-mutant lung epithelial cells strongly suppressed SCLC initiation and progression in mice. Furthermore, pharmacological blockade of Hedgehog signaling inhibited the growth of mouse and human SCLC, most notably following chemotherapy. These findings show a crucial cell-intrinsic role for Hedgehog signaling in the development and maintenance of SCLC and identify Hedgehog pathway inhibition as a therapeutic strategy to slow the progression of disease and delay cancer recurrence in individuals with SCLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504 - 1508
Number of pages5
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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