Pharmacological inhibition of sonic hedgehog signaling suppresses tumor development in a murine model of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Kyungjoo Cho, Hyuk Moon, Sang Hyun Seo, Simon Weonsang Ro, Beom Kyung Kim

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Cholangiocarcinoma (CCC) is the second most primary liver cancer with an aggressive biological behavior, and its incidence increases steadily. An aberrant up-regulation of the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway has been reported in a variety of hepatic diseases including hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, as well as cancer. In this study, we determined the effect of a sonic hedgehog inhibitor, vismodegib, on the development of CCC. Through database analyses, we found sonic hedgehog signaling was up-regulated in human CCC, based on overexpression of its target genes, GLI1 and GLI2. Further, human CCC cells were highly sensitive to the treatment with vismodegib in vitro. Based on the data, we investigated the in vivo anti-cancer efficacy of vismodegib in CCC employing a murine model of CCC developed by hydrodynamic tail vein injection method. In the murine model, CCC induced by constitutively active forms of TAZ and PI3K exhibited up-regulated sonic hedgehog signaling. Treatment of vismodegib significantly suppressed tumor development in the murine CCC model, based on comparison of gross morphologies and liver weight/body weight. It is expected that pharmacological inhibition of sonic hedgehog signaling would be an effective molecular target therapy for CCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13214
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Hedgehog pathway inhibitor
  • Hydrodynamic transfection
  • Molecular target therapy
  • Sonic hedgehog


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