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J Cell Biochem. 2007 Jul 1;101(4):851-61.

A delicate balance: TGF-beta and the tumor microenvironment.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


The activated form of TGF-beta is a known regulator of epithelial cell autonomous tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. Recent studies have also indicated that TGF-beta mediates interactions between cancer cells and their local tumor microenvironment. Specifically, the loss of TGF-beta signaling in stromal components including fibroblasts and T-cells can result in an "activated" microenvironment that supports and even initiates transformation of adjacent epithelial cells. TGF-beta signaling in cancer can be regulated through mechanisms involving ligand activation and expression of essential components within the pathway including the receptors and downstream effectors. TGF-beta signaling in the tumor microenvironment significantly impacts carcinoma initiation, progression, and metastasis via epithelial cell autonomous and interdependent stromal-epithelial interactions in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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