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Pancreatology. 2007;7(5-6):423-35. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

Basics of TGF-beta and pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. The number of diagnoses per year equals the number of deaths per year, making it the deadliest of all malignancies. Modern advances and breakthroughs in molecular oncology have allowed researchers to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis of this disease. The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) pathway is one of the signaling systems that has been identified as a major contributor. TGF-beta plays a paradoxical role as both a tumor suppressor and a tumor promoter in pancreatic cancer. The purpose of this review is to provide the practicing clinician a thorough review of this molecule and its associated signaling partners in the context of its duplicitous role and behavior in patients with pancreatic cancer.

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