TGF-beta Signaling in Cancer Treatment

Author(s): Isabel Fabregat, Joan Fernando, Jessica Mainez, Patricia Sancho

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 20 , Issue 17 , 2014

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The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) belongs to a superfamily of cytokines that act on protein kinase receptors at the plasma membrane to induce a plethora of biological signals that regulate cell growth and death, differentiation, immune response, angiogenesis and inflammation. Dysregulation of its pathway contributes to a broad variety of pathologies, including cancer. TGF-β is an important regulatory tumor suppressor factor in epithelial cells, where it early inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis. However, tumor cells develop mechanisms to overcome the TGF-β-induced suppressor effects. Once this occurs, cells may respond to this cytokine inducing other effects that contribute to tumor progression. Indeed, TGF-β induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that is favored in tumor cells and facilitates migration and invasion. Furthermore, TGF-β mediates production of mitogenic growth factors, which stimulate tumor proliferation and survival. Finally, TGF-β is a well known immunosuppressor and pro-angiogenic factor. Many studies have identified the overexpression of TGF-β1 in various types of human cancer, which correlates with tumor progression, metastasis, angiogenesis and poor prognostic outcome. For these reasons, different strategies to block TGF-β pathway in cancer have been developed and they can be classified in: (1) blocking antibodies and ligand traps; (2) antisense oligos; (3) TβRII and/or ALK5 inhibitors; (4) immune response-based strategies; (5) other inhibitors of the TGF-β pathway. In this review we will overview the two faces of TGF-β signaling in the regulation of tumorigenesis and we will dissect how targeting the TGF-β pathway may contribute to fight against cancer.

Keywords: TGF-beta, Smads, EMT, tumor progression, cancer treatment.

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Article Details

Year: 2014
Published on: 12 May, 2014
Page: [2934 - 2947]
Pages: 14
DOI: 10.2174/13816128113199990591
Price: $65

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