Switching TGFβ from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2011 Feb;21(1):93-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2010.12.004. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


TGFβ acts as a potent tumor suppressor and tumor promoter in a context dependent manner. Tumor suppressive functions include inhibition of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis and regulation of autophagy. As tumors develop they switch their response to TGFβ and utilise this factor as a potent promoter of cell motility, invasion, metastasis and tumor stem cell maintenance. These multifactorial tumor influencing actions of TGFβ involve regulation of an increasing number of signal transduction pathways employing a diverse range of signaling molecules. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of how tumor cells respond to TGFβ and switch their response to this cytokine during disease progression is vital for both the development and the informed use of potentially powerful TGFβ targeted therapeutics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta