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Nat Rev Cancer. 2010 Jun;10(6):415-24. doi: 10.1038/nrc2853.

TGFbeta signalling: a complex web in cancer progression.

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Department of Molecular Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


The distortion of growth factor signalling is the most important prerequisite in tumour progression. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) signalling regulates tumour progression by a tumour cell-autonomous mechanism or through tumour-stroma interaction, and has either a tumour-suppressing or tumour-promoting function depending on cellular context. Such inherent complexity of TGFbeta signalling results in arduous, but promising, assignments for developing therapeutic strategies against malignant tumours. As numerous cellular context-dependent factors tightly maintain the balance of TGFbeta signalling and contribute to the regulation of TGFbeta-induced cell responses, in this Review we discuss how they maintain the balance of TGFbeta signalling and how their collapse leads to tumour progression.

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