Tumour microenvironment: TGFbeta: the molecular Jekyll and Hyde of cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Jul;6(7):506-20. doi: 10.1038/nrc1926.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) signalling regulates cancer through mechanisms that function either within the tumour cell itself or through host-tumour cell interactions. Studies of tumour-cell-autonomous TGFbeta effects show clearly that TGFbeta signalling has a mechanistic role in tumour suppression and tumour promotion. In addition, factors in the tumour microenvironment, such as fibroblasts, immune cells and the extracellular matrix, influence the ability of TGFbeta to promote or suppress carcinoma progression and metastasis. The complex nature of TGFbeta signalling and crosstalk in the tumour microenvironment presents a unique challenge, and an opportunity to develop therapeutic intervention strategies for targeting cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta