Colak S, Ten Dijke P
Trends Cancer 3 (1) 56-71 [2017-01-00; online 2017-01-03]
The transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling pathway is deregulated in many diseases, including cancer. In healthy cells and early-stage cancer cells, this pathway has tumor-suppressor functions, including cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. However, its activation in late-stage cancer can promote tumorigenesis, including metastasis and chemoresistance. The dual function and pleiotropic nature of TGF-β signaling make it a challenging target and imply the need for careful therapeutic dosing of TGF-β drugs and patient selection. We review here the rationale for targeting TGF-β signaling in cancer and summarize the clinical status of pharmacological inhibitors. We discuss the direct effects of TGF-β signaling blockade on tumor and stromal cells, as well as biomarkers that can predict the efficacy of TGF-β inhibitors in cancer patients.