The role of Notch in tumorigenesis: oncogene or tumour suppressor?

Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Oct;3(10):756-67. doi: 10.1038/nrc1186.


Notch signalling participates in the development of multicellular organisms by maintaining the self-renewal potential of some tissues and inducing the differentiation of others. Involvement of Notch in cancer was first highlighted in human T-cell leukaemia, fuelling the notion that aberrant Notch signalling promotes tumorigenesis. However, there is mounting evidence that Notch signalling is not exclusively oncogenic. It can instead function as a tumour suppressor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Oncogenes / physiology*
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Trans-Activators