Timeframe: 2017 – 2019
Goal: Evaluate the role of Hedgehog and YAP signaling in fibrolamellar carcinoma
Principal Investigators: Cynthia Guy, MD, Associate Professor of Pathology; Anna Mae Diehl, MD, Florence McAlister Professor of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine
Fibrolamellar carcinoma has a unique histological appearance consisting of large tumor cells surrounded by thick fibrous bands, the stroma. Molecular crosstalk between tumor and stroma is important in tumor maintenance and progression. Decoding the important signals in these interactions will reveal new potential therapeutic targets. This effort aimed to study the role of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling in tumor-stromal interactions. Hh signaling is important in normal liver development and regeneration as well as tumor-stromal interactions in other cancers. Active Hh signaling also activates a protein called Yap, which results in stroma accumulation and primitive stem cells, both of which are seen in FLC. The study examined the role of Hh and Yap signaling in tumor-stroma interactions and their effect on tumor growth and progression.