Three distinct roles for TGF-beta during intercellular induction of apoptosis: a review

Anticancer Res. Jan-Feb 1999;19(1A):105-11.


During intercellular induction of apoptosis, transformed fibroblasts are eliminated through the action of neighbouring nontransformed cells. TGF-beta thereby plays three distinct and central roles. a) TGF-beta released by transformed cells or added exogenously to the assay system triggers nontransformed cells to release a shortlived apoptosis inducing factor, which is specifically directed against transformed cells. b) TGF-beta is involved in the maintenance of the transformed state, which is required for expression of sensitivity for intercellular induction of apoptosis. c) TGF-beta further sensitizes transformed cells through downmodulation of their endogenous survival factors, which control a constitutively expressed apoptosis machinery. These data demonstrate that TGF-beta which is utilized by transformed fibroblasts for the maintenance of their transformed state, causes recognition of transformed cells by their nontransformed neighbours and triggers and enhances an apoptosis-inducing response which finally causes elimination of potential tumor cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta