TGF-beta signaling in cancer--a double-edged sword

Trends Cell Biol. 2001 Nov;11(11):S44-51. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(01)02130-4.


Transforming growth factor (TGF) beta1 is a potent growth inhibitor, with tumor-suppressing activity. Cancers are often refractile to this growth inhibition either because of genetic loss of TGF-beta signaling components or, more commonly, because of downstream perturbation of the signaling pathway, such as by Ras activation. Carcinomas often secrete excess TGF-beta1 and respond to it by enhanced invasion and metastasis. Therapeutic approaches should aim to inhibit the TGF-beta-induced invasive phenotype, but also to retain its growth-inhibitory and apoptosis-inducing effects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta