It has long been known from work in both Drosophila and vertebrate systems that the hedgehog signalling pathway is pivotal to embryonic development, but the past 5 years has seen an increase in our understanding of how members of this pathway are crucial to the processes of tumorigenesis. This important link was firmly established with the discovery that mutations in the gene encoding the hedgehog receptor molecule patched are responsible for both familial and sporadic forms of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), as well as a number of other tumour types. It is now known that a number of key members of the hedgehog cascade are involved in tumorigenesis, and dysregulation of this pathway appears to be a key element in the aetiology of a range of tumours.
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Hedgehog signalling