YAP and TAZ are highly related transcriptional regulators pervasively activated in human malignancies. Recent work indicates that, remarkably, YAP/TAZ are essential for cancer initiation or growth of most solid tumors. Their activation induces cancer stem cell attributes, proliferation, chemoresistance, and metastasis. YAP/TAZ are sensors of the structural and mechanical features of the cell microenvironment. A number of cancer-associated extrinsic and intrinsic cues conspire to overrule the YAP-inhibiting microenvironment of normal tissues, including changes in mechanotransduction, inflammation, oncogenic signaling, and regulation of the Hippo pathway. Addiction to YAP/TAZ thus potentially represents a central cancer vulnerability that may be exploited therapeutically.
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