Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a highly pleiotropic cytokine playing pivotal roles in immune regulation. TGF-beta facilitates tumor cell survival and metastasis by targeting multiple cellular components. Focusing on its immunosuppressive functions, TGF-beta antagonists have been employed for cancer treatment to enhance tumor immunity. TGF-beta antagonists exert anti-tumor effects through #1 activating effector cells such as NK cells and cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells (CTLs), #2 inhibiting regulatory/suppressor cell populations, #3 making tumor cells visible to immune cells, #4 inhibiting the production of tumor growth factors. This review focuses on the effect of TGF-beta on T cells, which are differentiated into effector T cells or newly identified tumor-supporting T cells.
Keywords: CD8+T cells; IL-17; metastasis; primary tumor; transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β).