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      Targeting the Sonic Hedgehog Signaling Pathway: Review of Smoothened and GLI Inhibitors

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          Abstract

          The sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway is a major regulator of cell differentiation, cell proliferation, and tissue polarity. Aberrant activation of the Shh pathway has been shown in a variety of human cancers, including, basal cell carcinoma, malignant gliomas, medulloblastoma, leukemias, and cancers of the breast, lung, pancreas, and prostate. Tumorigenesis, tumor progression and therapeutic response have all been shown to be impacted by the Shh signaling pathway. Downstream effectors of the Shh pathway include smoothened (SMO) and glioma-associated oncogene homolog (GLI) family of zinc finger transcription factors. Both are regarded as important targets for cancer therapeutics. While most efforts have been devoted towards pharmacologically targeting SMO, developing GLI-targeted approach has its merit because of the fact that GLI proteins can be activated by both Shh ligand-dependent and -independent mechanisms. To date, two SMO inhibitors (LDE225/Sonidegib and GDC-0449/Vismodegib) have received FDA approval for treating basal cell carcinoma while many clinical trials are being conducted to evaluate the efficacy of this exciting class of targeted therapy in a variety of cancers. In this review, we provide an overview of the biology of the Shh pathway and then detail the current landscape of the Shh-SMO-GLI pathway inhibitors including those in preclinical studies and clinical trials.

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          Most cited references 187

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          Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation

          The hallmarks of cancer comprise six biological capabilities acquired during the multistep development of human tumors. The hallmarks constitute an organizing principle for rationalizing the complexities of neoplastic disease. They include sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, enabling replicative immortality, inducing angiogenesis, and activating invasion and metastasis. Underlying these hallmarks are genome instability, which generates the genetic diversity that expedites their acquisition, and inflammation, which fosters multiple hallmark functions. Conceptual progress in the last decade has added two emerging hallmarks of potential generality to this list-reprogramming of energy metabolism and evading immune destruction. In addition to cancer cells, tumors exhibit another dimension of complexity: they contain a repertoire of recruited, ostensibly normal cells that contribute to the acquisition of hallmark traits by creating the "tumor microenvironment." Recognition of the widespread applicability of these concepts will increasingly affect the development of new means to treat human cancer. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Sorafenib in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

            No effective systemic therapy exists for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. A preliminary study suggested that sorafenib, an oral multikinase inhibitor of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, the platelet-derived growth factor receptor, and Raf may be effective in hepatocellular carcinoma. In this multicenter, phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 602 patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma who had not received previous systemic treatment to receive either sorafenib (at a dose of 400 mg twice daily) or placebo. Primary outcomes were overall survival and the time to symptomatic progression. Secondary outcomes included the time to radiologic progression and safety. At the second planned interim analysis, 321 deaths had occurred, and the study was stopped. Median overall survival was 10.7 months in the sorafenib group and 7.9 months in the placebo group (hazard ratio in the sorafenib group, 0.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.55 to 0.87; P<0.001). There was no significant difference between the two groups in the median time to symptomatic progression (4.1 months vs. 4.9 months, respectively, P=0.77). The median time to radiologic progression was 5.5 months in the sorafenib group and 2.8 months in the placebo group (P<0.001). Seven patients in the sorafenib group (2%) and two patients in the placebo group (1%) had a partial response; no patients had a complete response. Diarrhea, weight loss, hand-foot skin reaction, and hypophosphatemia were more frequent in the sorafenib group. In patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, median survival and the time to radiologic progression were nearly 3 months longer for patients treated with sorafenib than for those given placebo. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00105443.) 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Sorafenib in advanced clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma.

              We conducted a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of sorafenib, a multikinase inhibitor of tumor-cell proliferation and angiogenesis, in patients with advanced clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma. From November 2003 to March 2005, we randomly assigned 903 patients with renal-cell carcinoma that was resistant to standard therapy to receive either continuous treatment with oral sorafenib (at a dose of 400 mg twice daily) or placebo; 451 patients received sorafenib and 452 received placebo. The primary end point was overall survival. A single planned analysis of progression-free survival in January 2005 showed a statistically significant benefit of sorafenib over placebo. Consequently, crossover was permitted from placebo to sorafenib, beginning in May 2005. At the January 2005 cutoff, the median progression-free survival was 5.5 months in the sorafenib group and 2.8 months in the placebo group (hazard ratio for disease progression in the sorafenib group, 0.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35 to 0.55; P<0.01). The first interim analysis of overall survival in May 2005 showed that sorafenib reduced the risk of death, as compared with placebo (hazard ratio, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.54 to 0.94; P=0.02), although this benefit was not statistically significant according to the O'Brien-Fleming threshold. Partial responses were reported as the best response in 10% of patients receiving sorafenib and in 2% of those receiving placebo (P<0.001). Diarrhea, rash, fatigue, and hand-foot skin reactions were the most common adverse events associated with sorafenib. Hypertension and cardiac ischemia were rare serious adverse events that were more common in patients receiving sorafenib than in those receiving placebo. As compared with placebo, treatment with sorafenib prolongs progression-free survival in patients with advanced clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma in whom previous therapy has failed; however, treatment is associated with increased toxic effects. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00073307 [ClinicalTrials.gov].). Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Cancers (Basel)
                Cancers (Basel)
                cancers
                Cancers
                MDPI
                2072-6694
                15 February 2016
                February 2016
                : 8
                : 2
                cancers-08-00022
                10.3390/cancers8020022
                4773745
                26891329
                © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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