Biochemical pathways and targeted therapies in basal cell carcinoma: A systematic review

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Bao Anh Patrick Tran, Tiffany Alexander, Ally-Khan Somani


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of human malignancy. It is a slow-growing skin cancer with little ability to metastasize, but it is aggressive and can cause local tissue destruction. Descriptions of Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome (BCNS), characterized by a predisposition to the formation of BCC and other neoplasms, and identification of the genetic defect in this syndrome, has led to significant advancement in our understanding of the pathogenesis of BCC. Unregulated expression of target genes in the sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis of BCC. An understanding of the signaling components has allowed for the development of pharmacologic agents that inhibit the SHH pathway. The first inhibitor of the SHH pathway approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of BCC is vismodegib. In this review, we will discuss the biochemical pathways involved in BCC as targets of novel pharmacologic therapies.


Basal cell carcinoma; nonmelanoma skin cancer; Hedgehog signaling; vismodegib

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