A Pan-Cancer Analysis Reveals High-Frequency Genetic Alterations in Mediators of Signaling by the TGF-β Superfamily

Academic Article


  • We present an integromic analysis of gene alterations that modulate transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-Smad-mediated signaling in 9,125 tumor samples across 33 cancer types in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Focusing on genes that encode mediators and regulators of TGF-β signaling, we found at least one genomic alteration (mutation, homozygous deletion, or amplification) in 39% of samples, with highest frequencies in gastrointestinal cancers. We identified mutation hotspots in genes that encode TGF-β ligands (BMP5), receptors (TGFBR2, AVCR2A, and BMPR2), and Smads (SMAD2 and SMAD4). Alterations in the TGF-β superfamily correlated positively with expression of metastasis-associated genes and with decreased survival. Correlation analyses showed the contributions of mutation, amplification, deletion, DNA methylation, and miRNA expression to transcriptional activity of TGF-β signaling in each cancer type. This study provides a broad molecular perspective relevant for future functional and therapeutic studies of the diverse cancer pathways mediated by the TGF-β superfamily. To date, there are no studies of the TGF-β superfamily of signaling pathways across multiple cancers. This study represents a key starting point for unraveling the role of this complex superfamily in 33 divergent cancer types from over 9,000 patients.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Cell Systems  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Korkut A; Zaidi S; Kanchi RS; Rao S; Gough NR; Schultz A; Li X; Lorenzi PL; Berger AC; Robertson G
  • Start Page

  • 422
  • End Page

  • 437.e7
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 4