TGF-beta has paradoxical and context dependent effects on proliferation and anoikis in human colorectal cancer cell lines

Growth Factors. 2008 Oct;26(5):254-62. doi: 10.1080/08977190802291667.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a pluripotent cytokine that can have both tumor suppressing and tumor promoting effects on epithelial cells. It is unclear what determines when TGF-beta and its signaling pathway act predominantly as a tumor suppressor pathway or as a tumor-promoter pathway and whether TGF-beta can have both classes of effects concurrently on a cell. We investigated the effect of TGF-beta on anoikis in colorectal cancer cell lines sensitive to TGF-beta-mediated growth inhibition to determine if the context of the cells could be one of the factors that would affect whether TGF-beta exerts tumor suppressor or oncogene activity on colon cancer cells. We observed variable effects of TGF-beta on anoikis in these cell lines, even though they all are growth-inhibited by TGF-beta. Thus, we show that TGF-beta has variable effects on anoikis in colon cancer cell lines that likely reflects the effects of concurrent gene mutations in the cancer cells and the activation state of the signaling pathways controlled by these genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anoikis / drug effects*
  • Anoikis / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • Genes, Reporter
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology*


  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Luciferases