Transforming Growth Factor-beta superfamily: evaluation as breast cancer biomarkers and preventive agents

V. Gupta, D. P. Harkin, H. Kawakubo, S. Maheswaran, Denis Harkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGFbeta) superfamily of cytokines is comprised of a number of structurally-related, secreted polypeptides that regulate a multitude of cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation and neoplastic transformation. These growth regulatory molecules induce ligand-mediated hetero-oligomerization of distinct type II and type I serine/threonine kinase receptors that transmit signals predominantly through receptor-activated Smad proteins but also induce Smad-independent pathways. Ligands, receptors and intracellular mediators of signaling initiated by members of the TGFbeta family are expressed in the mammary gland and disruption of these pathways may contribute to the development and progression of human breast cancer. Since many facets of TGFbeta and breast cancer have been recently reviewed in several articles, except for discussion of recent developments on some aspects of TGFbeta, the major focus of this review will be on the role of activins, inhibins, BMPs, nodal and MIS-signaling in breast cancer with emphasis on their utility as potential diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-82
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent cancer drug targets
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • Activins
  • Animals
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins
  • Humans
  • Inhibins
  • Nodal Protein
  • Signal Transduction
  • Testicular Hormones
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Tumor Markers, Biological


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