TGF-β: an emerging player in drug resistance

Cell Cycle. 2013 Sep 15;12(18):2960-8. doi: 10.4161/cc.26034. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


The transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) pathway acts as a double-edged sword in tumorigenesis. By constraining epithelial cell growth, TGF-β is a potent tumor suppressor. However, TGF-β also acts as a key player in the induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), thereby enhancing invasiveness and metastasis. Furthermore, TGF-β signaling has recently been correlated with resistance against both targeted and conventional anticancer agents. Here, we present data demonstrating a role for TGF-β in chemotherapy resistance in colorectal cancer (CRC). We discuss these results in the context of recent findings indicating TGF-β signaling as an emerging player in cancer drug resistance.

Keywords: EMT; TGF-β; chemotherapy; drug resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Humans
  • Mediator Complex / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mediator Complex / genetics
  • Mediator Complex / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Smad2 Protein / metabolism
  • Smad3 Protein / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • MED12 protein, human
  • Mediator Complex
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Smad2 Protein
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta