Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Res. 2009 Jan;19(1):89-102. doi: 10.1038/cr.2008.316.

Roles of TGFbeta in metastasis.

Author information

Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, Box 116, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The TGFbeta signaling pathway is conserved from flies to humans and has been shown to regulate such diverse processes as cell proliferation, differentiation, motility, adhesion, organization, and programmed cell death. Both in vitro and in vivo experiments suggest that TGFbeta can utilize these varied programs to promote cancer metastasis through its effects on the tumor microenvironment, enhanced invasive properties, and inhibition of immune cell function. Recent clinical evidence demonstrating a link between TGFbeta signaling and cancer progression is fostering interest in this signaling pathway as a therapeutic target. Anti-TGFbeta therapies are currently being developed and tested in pre-clinical studies. However, targeting TGFbeta carries a substantial risk as this pathway is implicated in multiple homeostatic processes and is also known to have tumor-suppressor functions. Additionally, clinical and experimental results show that TGFbeta has diverse and often conflicting roles in tumor progression even within the same tumor types. The development of TGFbeta inhibitors for clinical use will require a deeper understanding of TGFbeta signaling, its consequences, and the contexts in which it acts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center