Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research

Overexpression of hedgehog signaling molecules and its involvement in the proliferation of endometrial carcinoma cells.

PMID 17332280


Research has revealed abnormal activation of the hedgehog pathway in human malignancies. The present study was undertaken to examine the expression and functional involvement of the hedgehog pathway in endometrial tissues. The expression of sonic hedgehog (Shh), patched (Ptch), Smoothened (Smo), and Gli1 was examined in various endometrial tissues and endometrial carcinoma cell lines. The effect of hedgehog signaling on the proliferation of endometrial carcinoma cell lines was also examined. The expression of Shh, Ptch, Smo, and Gli1 was very weak in normal endometrium, but was increased in endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma stepwisely with significant differences. There was no marked difference in the expression of these molecules in carcinomas according to stages and histologic grades. Treatment with cyclopamine, a specific inhibitor of the hedgehog pathway, for endometrial carcinoma Ishikawa and HHUA cells suppressed growth by 56% and 67%, respectively, compared with the control. The addition of recombinant Shh peptide to HHUA cells enhanced their proliferation by 41%. The silencing of Gli1 using small interfering RNA (siGli1) resulted in the growth suppression and down-regulation of Ptch expression. In addition, the cyclopamine/siGli1-induced growth suppression was associated with the down-regulation of cyclins D1 and A and N-myc. No somatic mutations for ptch and smo genes were detected in the endometrial carcinoma cases examined. The abnormal activation of this pathway is involved in the proliferation of endometrial carcinoma cells possibly in an auto-/paracrine fashion, suggesting the possibility of the hedgehog pathway being a novel candidate for molecular targeting.