Transforming growth factor-β1 in cancer immunology: opportunities for immunotherapy

Víctor H Villar, Tijana Subotički, Dragoslava Đikić, Olivera Mitrović-Ajtić, Felipe Simon, Juan F Santibanez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β) regulates a plethora of cell-intrinsic processes that modulate tumor progression in a context-dependent manner. Thus, although TGF-β acts as a tumor suppressor in the early stages of tumorigenesis, in late stages, this factor promotes tumor progression and metastasis. In addition, TGF-β also impinges on the tumor microenvironment by modulating the immune system. In this aspect, TGF-β exhibits a potent immunosuppressive effect, which allows both cancer cells to escape from immune surveillance and confers resistance to immunotherapy. While TGF-β inhibits the activation and antitumoral functions of T-cell lymphocytes, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells, it promotes the generation of T-regulatory cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells, which hinder antitumoral T-cell activities. Moreover, TGF-β promotes tumor-associated macrophages and neutrophils polarization from M1 into M2 and N1 to N2, respectively. Altogether, these effects contribute to the generation of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and support tumor promotion. This review aims to analyze the relevant evidence on the complex role of TGF-β in cancer immunology, the current outcomes of combined immunotherapies, and the anti-TGF-β therapies that may improve the success of current and new oncotherapies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in molecular pathology
EditorsFelipe Simon, Carmelo Bernabeu
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783031261633
ISBN (Print)9783031261626, 9783031261657
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in experimental medicine and biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • TGF-beta1
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • T-Lymphocyte
  • Natural killer cells
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Immunotherapy
  • Immunosuppression
  • Tumor microenvironment


Dive into the research topics of 'Transforming growth factor-β1 in cancer immunology: opportunities for immunotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this