Tumor breakthrough is driven by genetic or epigenetic variations which assist in initiation, migration, invasion and metastasis of tumors. Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) protein has risen recently as the crucial factor in malignancies and plays a potential role in diverse complex oncogenic signaling cascades. AEG-1 has multiple roles in tumor growth and development and is found to be involved in various signaling pathways of: (i) Ha-ras and PI3K/AKT; (ii) the NF-κB; (iii) the ERK or mitogen-activated protein kinase and Wnt or β-catenin and (iv) the Aurora-A kinase. Recent studies have confirmed that in all the hallmarks of cancers, AEG-1 plays a key functionality including progression, transformation, sustained angiogenesis, evading apoptosis, and invasion and metastasis. Clinical studies have supported that AEG-1 is actively intricated in tumor growth and progression which includes esophageal squamous cell, gastric, colorectal, hepatocellular, gallbladder, breast, prostate and non-small cell lung cancers, as well as renal cell carcinomas, melanoma, glioma, neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma. Existing studies have reported that AEG-1 expression has been induced by Ha-ras through intrication of PI3K/AKT signaling. Conversely, AEG-1 also activates PI3K/AKT pathway and modulates the defined subset of downstream target proteins via crosstalk between the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and Hedgehog signaling cascade which further plays a crucial role in metastasis. Thus, AEG-1 may be employed as a biomarker to discern the patients of those who are likely to get aid from AEG-1-targeted medication. AEG-1 may play as an effective target to repress tumor development, occlude metastasis, and magnify the effectiveness of treatments. In this review, we focus on the molecular mechanism of AEG-1 in the process of carcinogenesis and its involvement in regulation of crosstalk between the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and Hedgehog signaling. We also highlight the multifaceted functions, expression, clinicopathological significance and molecular inhibitors of AEG-1 in various cancer types.
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