Crosstalk of TGF-β and estrogen receptor signaling in breast cancer

J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2011 Jun;16(2):109-15. doi: 10.1007/s10911-011-9203-7. Epub 2011 Mar 11.


Estrogen receptor-α (ERα) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling pathways are major regulators during mammary gland development, function and tumorigenesis. Predominantly, they have opposing roles in proliferation and apoptosis. While ERα signaling supports growth and differentiation and is antiapoptotic, mammary gland epithelia cells are very sensitive to TGF-β-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Their regulatory pathways intersect, and ERα blocks TGF-β pathway by multiple means, including direct interactions of its signaling components, Smads. However, relatively little is known of the dysfunction of their interactions in cancer. A better understanding would help to develop new strategies for breast cancer treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta