Cancer Biology

Signaling Brain Tumor Growth

Science's STKE  03 Sep 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 148, pp. tw327
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.148.tw327

Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children. The most common of these are medulloblastomas, highly aggressive tumors that arise in the cerebellum and whose molecular etiology is poorly understood. Berman et al. show that initiation and continued growth of these tumors requires the Hedgehog (Hh) cellular signaling pathway. Treatment of mice with cyclopamine, a plant-derived molecule that inhibits Hh signaling, caused regression of medulloblastomas with no apparent side effects; thus, small-molecule antagonists of Hh may merit investigation as a new therapy for human medulloblastoma.

D. M. Berman, S. S. Karhadkar, A. R. Hallahan, J. I. Pritchard, C. G. Eberhart, D. N. Watkins, J. K. Chen, M. K. Cooper, J. Taipale, J. M. Olson, P. A. Beachy, Medulloblastoma growth inhibition by Hedgehog pathway blockade, Science 297, 1559-1561 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]