The Yin and Yang of bone morphogenetic proteins in cancer

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2010 Aug;21(4):299-313. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2010.06.003. Epub 2010 Aug 4.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) were first studied as growth factors or morphogens of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily. These growth molecules, originally associated with bone and cartilage development, are now known to play an important role in morphogenesis and homeostasis in many other tissues. More recently, significant contributions from BMPs, their receptors, and interacting molecules have been linked to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. On the other hand, BMPs can sometimes function as a tumor suppressor. Our report highlights these new roles in the pathogenesis of cancer that may suggest novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors / metabolism
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors