The immune suppressive function of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in human diseases

Growth Factors. 2015 Apr;33(2):92-101. doi: 10.3109/08977194.2015.1010645. Epub 2015 Feb 25.


Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) functions as an immune suppressor by influencing immune cells' development, differentiation, tolerance induction and homeostasis. In human diseases, TGF-β has been revealed as an essential regulator of both innate and adaptive functions in autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, it plays a significant role in cancer by inhibiting immunosurveillance in the tumor-bearing host. A variety of TGF-β neutralizing anti-cancer therapies have been investigated based on the role of TGF-β in immunosuppression. New studies are focusing on combining TGF-β blockade with tumor vaccinations and immunogene therapies.

Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; TGF-β; cancer; immune suppression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / chemistry*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / immunology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • TGFB1 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1