TGF-β signalling and its role in cancer progression and metastasis
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The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) system signals via protein kinase receptors and SMAD mediators to regulate a large number of biological processes. Alterations of the TGF-β signalling pathway are implicated in human cancer. Prior to tumour initiation and early during progression, TGF-β acts as a tumour suppressor; however, at later stages, it is often a tumour promoter. Knowledge about the mechanisms involved in TGF-β signal transduction has allowed a better understanding of cancer progression, invasion, metastasis and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, several molecular targets with great potential in therapeutic interventions have been identified. This review discusses the TGF-β signalling pathway, its involvement in cancer and current therapeutic approaches.