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BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer (PCa) is a heterogeneous disease with a variable natural history, genetics, and treatment outcome. The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway is increasingly recognized as being potentially important for the development and progression of PCa. In this retrospective study, we compared the activation status of the Hh signaling pathway between benign and tumor tissue, and evaluated the clinical significance of Hh signaling in PCa. METHODS: In this tissue microarray (TMA) study, the protein expression of several Hh signaling components and Hh target proteins, along with microvessel density, were compared between benign (n = 64) and malignant (n = 170) prostate tissue, and correlated with PCa clinicopathological characteristics and biochemical recurrence (BCR). RESULTS: The Hh signaling pathway appeared to be more active in PCa than in benign prostate tissue, as demonstrated by lower expression of the negative regulators PTCH1 and GLI3 in the tumor tissue compared to benign. In addition, high epithelial GLI2 expression correlated with higher pathological Gleason score. Overall, higher epithelial GLI3 expression in the tumor was shown to be an independent marker of a favorable prognosis. CONCLUSION: Hh signaling activation might reflect aggressive tumoral behavior, since high epithelial GLI2 expression positively correlates with a higher pathological Gleason score. Moreover, higher epithelial GLI3 expression is an independent marker of a more favorable prognosis.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Cancer

Publication Date





Biochemical recurrence, Hedgehog pathway, Prostate cancer, Tissue microarray, Aged, Disease Progression, Follow-Up Studies, Hedgehog Proteins, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Biological, Neoplasm Grading, Neoplasm Staging, Prognosis, Prostatic Neoplasms, Recurrence, Signal Transduction, Survival Analysis, Tissue Array Analysis