TGF-beta signaling and cancer: structural and functional consequences of mutations in Smads

Mol Med Today. 1998 Jun;4(6):257-62. doi: 10.1016/s1357-4310(98)01247-7.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and related cytokines control the development and homeostasis of many tissues by regulating the expression of genes that determine cell phenotype. Recent progress has elucidated the way in which members of the TGF-beta family initiate their signal through transmembrane receptors and transmit it to target genes via the Smad family of signal-transducing proteins. This review describes TGF-beta signaling pathways as currently understood and mutations of the genes that encode Smads that disrupt the function of these proteins and cause various forms of cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Smad Proteins
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Smad Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta