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Immunity. 2019 Apr 16;50(4):924-940. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2019.03.024.

Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling in Immunity and Cancer.

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Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Baldiri Reixac 10, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Cáncer (CIBERONC), Barcelona, Spain; ICREA, Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:
Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA. Electronic address:


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β is a crucial enforcer of immune homeostasis and tolerance, inhibiting the expansion and function of many components of the immune system. Perturbations in TGF-β signaling underlie inflammatory diseases and promote tumor emergence. TGF-β is also central to immune suppression within the tumor microenvironment, and recent studies have revealed roles in tumor immune evasion and poor responses to cancer immunotherapy. Here, we present an overview of the complex biology of the TGF-β family and its context-dependent nature. Then, focusing on cancer, we discuss the roles of TGF-β signaling in distinct immune cell types and how this knowledge is being leveraged to unleash the immune system against the tumor.

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