Dr. Sungjin Ko and Dr. Paul Monga coauthor a book chapter review entitled “YAP1 activation and Hippo pathway signaling in the pathogenesis and treatment of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma” in Advances in Cancer Research.

Ko S, Kim M, Molina L, Sirica AE, Monga SP. YAP1 activation and Hippo pathway signaling in the pathogenesis and treatment of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Adv Cancer Res. 2022;156:283-317. doi: 10.1016/bs.acr.2022.02.003. Epub 2022 Mar 9. PMID: 35961703.


Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA), the second most common primary liver cancer, is a highly lethal epithelial cell malignancy exhibiting features of cholangiocyte differentiation. iCCAs can potentially develop from multiple cell types of origin within liver, including immature or mature cholangiocytes, hepatic stem cells/progenitor cells, and from transdifferentiation of hepatocytes. Understanding the molecular mechanisms and genetic drivers that diversely drive specific cell lineage pathways leading to iCCA has important biological and clinical implications. In this context, activation of the YAP1-TEAD dependent transcription, driven by Hippo-dependent or -independent diverse mechanisms that lead to the stabilization of YAP1 is crucially important to biliary fate commitment in hepatobiliary cancer. In preclinical models, YAP1 activation in hepatocytes or cholangiocytes is sufficient to drive their malignant transformation into iCCA. Moreover, nuclear YAP1/TAZ is highly prevalent in human iCCA irrespective of the varied etiology, and significantly correlates with poor prognosis in iCCA patients. Based on the ubiquitous expression and diverse physiologic roles for YAP1/TAZ in the liver, recent studies have further revealed distinct functions of active YAP1/TAZ in regulating tumor metabolism, as well as the tumor immune microenvironment. In the current review, we discuss our current understanding of the various roles of the Hippo-YAP1 signaling in iCCA pathogenesis, with a specific focus on the roles played by the Hippo-YAP1 pathway in modulating biliary commitment and oncogenicity, iCCA metabolism, and immune microenvironment. We also discuss the therapeutic potential of targeting the YAP1/TAZ-TEAD transcriptional machinery in iCCA, its current limitations, and what future studies are needed to facilitate clinical translation.

Keywords: Bile duct tumors; Cholangiocarcinoma; Hepatocyte; Hippo signaling; Progenitor; Stem cell; Taz; Transdifferentiation; Tumor immunology; Tumor metabolism; YAP1.