TGF-β signaling in Liver, Pancreas, and Gastrointestinal Diseases and Cancer.

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Genetic alterations affecting transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling are exceptionally common in diseases and cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. As a regulator of tissue renewal, TGF-β signaling and the downstream SMAD-dependent transcriptional events play complex roles in the transition from a noncancerous disease state to cancer in the GI tract, liver, and pancreas. Furthermore, this pathway also regulates the stromal cells and the immune system, which may contribute to evasion of the tumors from immune-mediated elimination. Here, we review the involvement of the TGF-β pathway mediated by the transcriptional regulators SMADs in disease progression to cancer in the digestive system. The review integrates human genomic studies with animal models that provide clues towards understanding and managing the complexity of the pathway in disease and cancer.

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Authors: Nancy R Gough, Xiyan Xiang, Lopa Mishra