Role of Rho GTPases and their regulators in cancer progression

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jun 1;16:2561-71. doi: 10.2741/3872.


Rho family of GTPases is an ubiquitiously expressed and evolutionarily conserved family of GTP binding proteins that regulate actin dynamics and intracellular signaling. Among the Rho family GTPases, three members RhoA, Rac1 and CDC42 have been well characterized. They each play pivotal roles in gene expression, cell proliferation, apoptosis and various cellular functions. They are driven by signaling from RhoGDIs, RhoGEFs, RhoGAPs and cell surface receptors. Abnormalities in Rho GTPase function have major consequences on cell behavior. Over expression of Rho GTPases is associated with reorganization of actin cytoskeleton, an increase in cell migration, invasion and metastasis which are important aspects of cancer progression. This review will explore these Rho GTPases and the function of their associated signaling pathways in different types of cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Integrins
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein