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Even though the number of agents that inhibit TGFβ being tested in patients with cancer has grown substantially, clinical benefit from TGFβ inhibition has not yet been achieved. The myriad mechanisms in which TGFβ is protumorigenic may be a key obstacle to its effective deployment; cancer cells frequently employ TGFβ-regulated programs that engender plasticity, enable a permissive tumor microenvironment, and profoundly suppress immune recognition, which is the target of most current early-phase trials of TGFβ inhibitors. Here we discuss the implications of a less well-recognized aspect of TGFβ biology regulating DNA repair that mediates responses to radiation and chemotherapy. In cancers that are TGFβ signaling competent, TGFβ promotes effective DNA repair and suppresses error-prone repair, thus conferring resistance to genotoxic therapies and limiting tumor control. Cancers in which TGFβ signaling is intrinsically compromised are more responsive to standard genotoxic therapy. Recognition that TGFβ is a key moderator of both DNA repair and immunosuppression might be used to synergize combinations of genotoxic therapy and immunotherapy to benefit patients with cancer. ©2023 American Association for Cancer Research.


Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff, James L Gulley. Molecular Pathways and Mechanisms of TGFβ in Cancer Therapy. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 2023 Jun 01;29(11):2025-2033

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PMID: 36598437

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