Malignant glioma biology: role for TGF-beta in growth, motility, angiogenesis, and immune escape

Microsc Res Tech. 2001 Feb 15;52(4):401-10. doi: 10.1002/1097-0029(20010215)52:4<401::AID-JEMT1025>3.0.CO;2-C.


Characteristics of human malignant glioma are excessive proliferation, infiltrative growth, angiogenesis and suppression of anti-tumor immune surveillance. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), a versatile cytokine, is intimately involved in the regulation of these processes. Here, we discuss the interactions of TGF-beta with growth factors, such as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF) and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), metalloproteinases (MMP-2, MMP-9) and their inhibitor, plasmin activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and immune cells, like natural killer cells, T-cells and microglia. The differential effects of TGF-beta in glioma biology are outlined with emphasis on the induction of a survival advantage for glioma cells by enforced cell growth, migration, invasion, angiogenesis and immune paralysis. By virtue of its growth regulatory and immunomodulatory properties, TGF-beta promises to become a novel target for the experimental therapy of human malignant glioma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Brain Neoplasms* / physiopathology
  • Glioma* / immunology
  • Glioma* / pathology
  • Glioma* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*
  • Tumor Escape*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta