Cellular Signalling, February 2015, Vol.27(2), pp.373-381
The Hedgehog pathway plays an important role in the pathogenesis of several tumor types, including esophageal cancer. In our study, we show an expression of the ligand Indian hedgehog (Ihh) and its downstream mediator Gli-1 in primary resected adenocarcinoma tissue by immunohistochemistry and quantitative PCR in fifty percent of the cases, while matching healthy esophagus mucosa was negative for both proteins. Moreover, a functionally important regulation of Gli-1 by ErbB2–PI3K–mTORC signaling as well as a Gli-1-dependent regulation of Ihh in the ErbB2 amplified esophageal adenocarcinoma cell line OE19 was observed. Treatment of OE19 cells with the Her2 antibody trastuzumab, the PI3K–mTORC1 inhibitor NVP BEZ235 (BEZ235) or the knockdown of Akt1 resulted in a downregulation of Gli-1 and Ihh as well as in a reduction of viable OE19 cells . Interestingly, the Hedgehog receptor Smo, which acts upstream of Gli-1, was not expressed in OE19 cells and in the majority of primary human esophageal adenocarcinoma, suggesting a non-canonical upregulation of Gli-1 expression by the ErbB2–PI3K axis. To translate our findings into a therapeutic concept, we targeted ErbB2–PI3K–mTORC1 by trastuzumab and BEZ235, combining both compounds with the Gli-1/2 inhibitor GANT61. The triple combination led to significantly stronger reduction of tumor cell viability than cisplatinum or each biological alone. Therefore, concomitant blockage of the ErbB2–PI3K pathway and the Hedgehog downstream mediator Gli-1 may provide a new therapeutic strategy for esophageal cancer.
Esophageal Cancer ; Hedgehog ; Gli ; Non-Canonical ; Erbb2–Akt ; Biology
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