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J Exp Med. 2011 Sep 26;208(10):1931-5. doi: 10.1084/jem.20111855.

Oncogenic and tumor suppressor functions of Notch in cancer: it's NOTCH what you think.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Notch signaling is often considered a model hematopoietic proto-oncogene because of its role as the main trigger of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Although its role in T-ALL is well characterized and further supported by a high frequency of activating NOTCH1 mutations in T-ALL patients, it still remains an open question whether the effects of Notch signaling are causative in other types of cancer, including solid tumors. Growing evidence supported by recent studies unexpectedly shows that Notch signaling can also have a potent tumor suppressor function in both solid tumors and hematological malignancies. We discuss the intriguing possibility that the pleiotropic functions of Notch can be tumor suppressive or oncogenic depending on the cellular context.

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