Oncogenic Ras in tumour progression and metastasis

Biol Chem. 2005 Mar;386(3):193-205. doi: 10.1515/BC.2005.025.


The ras genes give rise to a family of related GTP-binding proteins that exhibit potent transforming potential. Mutational activation of Ras proteins promotes oncogenesis by disturbing a multitude of cellular processes, such as gene expression, cell cycle progression and cell proliferation, as well as cell survival, and cell migration. Ras signalling pathways are well known for their involvement in tumour initiation, but less is known about their contribution to invasion and metastasis. This review summarises the role and mechanisms of Ras signalling, especially the role of the Ras effector cascade Raf/MEK/ERK, as well as the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway in Ras-mediated transformation and tumour progression. In addition, it discusses the impact of Rho GTPases on Ras-mediated transformation and metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / physiology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • HRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)