Role of transforming growth factor β in cancer microenvironment
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- de la Cruz-Merino, L., Henao-Carrasco, F., García-Manrique, T. et al. Clin Transl Oncol (2009) 11: 715. doi:10.1007/s12094-009-0433-8
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Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) family members are polypeptidic cytokines with pleiotropic physiological properties. In relation to cancer, TGF-β exerts a dual tumour-suppressive and oncogenic effect, which is largely dependent on microenvironment stimuli. After activation of TGF-β signalling, two pathways can be activated: the canonical one through the mammalian Smad family or the non-canonical one activating, among others, the cellular mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling downstream, which interacts with Smad signalling. During tumorigenesis, cells of many cancer types often lose their response to the tumour-suppressive effects of TGF-β, which, in turn, has the opposite effect, acting as an autocrine tumour-promoting factor. In this review, we summarise the current knowledge about this intriguing cytokine, with special emphasis on its immunosuppressive actions.