Rho GTPase expression in tumourigenesis: evidence for a significant link

Bioessays. 2005 Jun;27(6):602-13. doi: 10.1002/bies.20238.


Rho proteins belong to the small GTPases superfamily. They function as molecular switches that, in response to diverse stimuli, control key signaling and structural aspects of the cell. Although early studies proposed a role for Rho GTPases in cellular transformation, this effect was underestimated due to the fact that no genetic mutations affecting Rho-encoding genes were found in tumors. Recently, it has become evident that Rho GTPases participate in the carcinogenic process by either overexpression of some of the members of the family with oncogenic activity, downmodulation of other members with suggested tumor suppressor activity, or by alteration of upstream modulators or downstream effectors. Thus, alteration of the levels of expression of different members of the family of Rho GTPases has been detected in many types of human tumors leading to a great interest in the cellular effects elicited by these oncoproteins. This essay reviews the current evidence of dysregulation of Rho signaling by overexpression in human tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Signal Transduction
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / classification
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins