TGF-beta and cancer

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. Feb-Apr 2006;17(1-2):29-40. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2005.09.006. Epub 2005 Nov 10.


TGF-beta signaling regulates tumorigenesis and in human cancer its signaling pathways are often modified during tumor progression. Prior to initiation and early during progression TGF-beta acts upon the epithelium as a tumor suppressor, however at later stages it is often a tumor promoter. Over the years, many studies have focused on the epithelial cell autonomous role for TGF-beta, however, TGF-beta is not strictly limited to this compartment in vivo. Recent studies addressing TGF-beta mediated stromal-epithelial interactions have significantly improved our understanding related to the regulation of cancer. In addition, stromal fibroblast cell autonomous effects have been observed in response to TGF-beta stimulation. According to the current literature and experimental evidence, TGF-beta is a potent ligand that regulates carcinoma initiation, progression and metastasis through a broad and complex spectrum of interdependent interactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*


  • Ligands
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta