Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
affects over 1,000,000 Americans each year and frequently develops on
sun-exposed sites, such as the face. Surgical removal of BCCs is an
effective approach to treating these cancers, which generally have a
slow growth rate and seldom spread or metastasize. However, untreated
BCCs can cause extensive local tissue damage, and surgical procedures
can produce significant scarring in cosmetically sensitive locations,
such as the face.
The Hedgehog signaling pathway plays a key role in normal development,
and its dysfunction has been implicated in a number of different human
diseases and neoplasms, including BCCs in skin and cancers arising in
brain, lung, prostate, pancreas and other gastrointestinal organs.
Dlugosz and colleagues focused on the function of uncontrolled Hh
pathway signaling in the growth of BCC.
The investigators used genetically engineered mice in which they could
manipulate expression of an Hh pathway component, called Gli2 ,
effectively turning it on or off at will in the skin. As expected,
expression of Gli2 resulted in BCC formatio
Source:U-M Medical School