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The Dual Role of Bone Morphogenetic Proteins in Cancer.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a diverse class of molecules with over 20 growth factor proteins that belong to the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) family and are highly associated with bone formation and disease development. Aberrant expression of various BMPs has been reported in several cancer tissues. Biological function studies have elicited the dual role of BMPs in both cancer development and suppression. Furthermore, a variety of BMP antagonists, ligands, and receptors have been shown to reduce or enhance tumorigenesis and metastasis. Knockout mouse models of BMP signaling components have also revealed that the suppression of BMP signaling impairs cancer metastasis. Herein, we highlight the basic clinical background and involvement of BMPs in modulating cancer progression and their dynamic interactions (e.g., with microRNAs) in the tumor microenvironment in addition to their mutations and roles in chemoprevention. We also suggest that BMPs should be considered a powerful putative therapeutic target in tumorigenesis and bone metastasis.