Renewing the conspiracy theory debate: does Raf function alone to mediate Ras oncogenesis?

Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Nov;14(11):639-47. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2004.09.014.


Ras proteins function as signal transducers and are mutationally activated in many human cancers. In 1993, Raf was identified as a key downstream effector of Ras signaling, and it was believed then that the primary function of Ras was simply to facilitate Raf activation. However, the subsequent discovery of other proteins that are effectors of Ras function suggested that oncogenic activities of Ras are mediated by both Raf-dependent and Raf-independent signaling. Further complexity arose with the identification of Ras effectors with putative tumor suppressor, rather than oncogenic, functions. However, the recent identification of B-raf mutations in human cancers has renewed the debate regarding whether Raf activation alone promotes Ras-mediated oncogenesis. In this article, we summarize the current knowledge of the contribution of Ras effectors in Ras-mediated oncogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Genes, ras*
  • Humans
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf