Members of the integrin family recognize a variety of spatially-restricted extracellular ligands. Classically, ligation of integrins activates cytoplasmic signals in the integrin-expressing cell and contributes to cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and survival. At least two members of this family, alphavbeta6 and alphavbeta8 perform an additional function, activation of latent complexes of transforming growth factor beta. In effect, this process allows integrins on one cell to activate signals on adjacent (in the case of alphavbeta6) or nearby cells (in the case of alphavbeta8). Integrin-mediated TGFbeta activation has been shown to play important roles in modulating tissue fibrosis, acute lung injury and pulmonary emphysema. Given the important roles that TGFbeta plays in modulating epithelial cell growth, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation and tumor invasion and metastasis, integrin-mediated TGFbeta activation is likely to play important roles in tumor growth and metastasis.