KLF4, p21 and context-dependent opposing forces in cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Jan;6(1):11-23. doi: 10.1038/nrc1780.


Krüppel-like factors are transcriptional regulators that influence several cellular functions, including proliferation. Recent studies have shown that one family member, KLF4, can function both as a tumour suppressor and an oncogene. The ability of KLF4 to affect the levels of expression of the cell-cycle regulator p21 seems to be involved, in that this protein might function as a switch that determines the outcome of KLF4 signalling. Is this role of p21 restricted to KLF4, or does p21 represent a nodal point for signals from multiple other factors with opposing functions in cancer?

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / physiology*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Oncogenes / physiology*


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • KLF4 protein, human
  • Klf4 protein, mouse
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors