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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Mar 20;23(9):2078-93.

Role of transforming growth factor Beta in human cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, 221 BMSRB Research Drive, Box 2631 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) is a ubiquitous and essential regulator of cellular and physiologic processes including proliferation, differentiation, migration, cell survival, angiogenesis, and immunosurveillance. Alterations in the TGF-beta signaling pathway, including mutation or deletion of members of the signaling pathway and resistance to TGF-beta-mediated inhibition of proliferation are frequently observed in human cancers. Although these alterations define a tumor suppressor role for the TGF-beta pathway in human cancer, TGF-beta also mediates tumor-promoting effects, either through differential effects on tumor and stromal cells or through a fundamental alteration in the TGF-beta responsiveness of the tumor cells themselves. TGF-beta and members of the TGF-beta signaling pathway are being evaluated as prognostic or predictive markers for cancer patients. Ongoing advances in understanding the TGF-beta signaling pathway will enable targeting of this pathway for the chemoprevention and treatment of human cancers.

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