, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 118-124
Date: 03 Dec 2011

The roles of TGF-β signaling in carcinogenesis and breast cancer metastasis

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Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) ligand is a multifunctional growth factor that regulates various cell behavior, such as cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and apoptosis. Because TGF-β is a potent growth inhibitor, abnormalities in TGF-β signaling result in carcinogenesis. In addition to tumor suppressor function, TGF-β acts as an oncogenic factor. In particular, TGF-β signaling plays an important role during metastasis of breast cancer. Recently, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been shown to confer malignant properties such as cell motility and invasiveness to cancer cells and plays crucial roles during cancer metastasis. Moreover, breast stem-like cells exhibit EMT properties. Because TGF-β is a potent regulator of EMT as well as cell stemness, TGF-β signaling might play a crucial role in the regulation of breast cancer stem cells.