The transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling pathway plays a vital role in the development and homeostasis of normal tissues. Abnormal function of this pathway contributes to the initiation and progression of cancer. Smad proteins are key signal transducers of the TGFβ pathway and are essential for the growth suppression function of TGFβ. Smads are bona fide tumor suppressors whose mutation, deletion, and silencing are associated with many types of human cancer. However, the involvement and functional mechanism of Smad proteins in cancer metastasis are poorly defined. Recent studies using genetically modified cancer cells and mouse tumor models have provided concrete evidence for a Smad-dependent mechanism for metastasis promotion by TGFβ. Understanding the dual roles of Smad proteins in tumor initiation and progression has important implications for cancer therapeutics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology
- Mouse model
- Tumor progression