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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 318481, 15 pages
Review Article

TGF-β: An Important Mediator of Allergic Disease and a Molecule with Dual Activity in Cancer Development

1Unidad de Investigación en Enfermedades Oncológicas, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez, SS, Dr. Márquez No. 162, Colonia Doctores, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, 06720 México, DF, Mexico
2Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Escolar, Avenida Universidad No. 3000, Delegación Coyoacán, 04510 México, DF, Mexico
3Departamento de Investigación en Hiperreactividad Bronquial, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Calzada de Tlalpan 4502, Sección XVI, 14080 México, DF, Mexico

Received 15 February 2014; Revised 23 April 2014; Accepted 4 May 2014; Published 11 June 2014

Academic Editor: Ghislain Opdenakker

Copyright © 2014 Belen Tirado-Rodriguez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily is a family of structurally related proteins that includes TGF-β, activins/inhibins, and bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs). Members of the TGF-β superfamily regulate cellular functions such as proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and migration and thus play key roles in organismal development. TGF-β is involved in several human diseases, including autoimmune disorders and vascular diseases. Activation of the TGF-β receptor induces phosphorylation of serine/threonine residues and triggers phosphorylation of intracellular effectors (Smads). Once activated, Smad proteins translocate to the nucleus and induce transcription of their target genes, regulating various processes and cellular functions. Recently, there has been an attempt to correlate the effect of TGF-β with various pathological entities such as allergic diseases and cancer, yielding a new area of research known as “allergooncology," which investigates the mechanisms by which allergic diseases may influence the progression of certain cancers. This knowledge could generate new therapeutic strategies aimed at correcting the pathologies in which TGF-β is involved. Here, we review recent studies that suggest an important role for TGF-β in both allergic disease and cancer progression.