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.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.