Notch as a tumour suppressor

The Notch signalling cascade is an evolutionarily conserved pathway that has a crucial role in regulating development and homeostasis in various tissues. The cellular processes and events that it controls are diverse, and continued investigation over recent decades has revealed how the role of Notch signalling is multifaceted and highly context dependent. Consistent with the far-reaching impact that Notch has on development and homeostasis, aberrant activity of the pathway is also linked to the initiation and progression of several malignancies, and Notch can in fact be either oncogenic or tumour suppressive depending on the tissue and cellular context. The Notch pathway therefore represents an important target for therapeutic agents designed to treat many types of cancer. In this Review, we focus on the latest developments relating specifically to the tumour-suppressor activity of Notch signalling and discuss the potential mechanisms by which Notch can inhibit carcinogenesis in various tissues. Potential therapeutic strategies aimed at restoring or augmenting Notch-mediated tumour suppression will also be highlighted.


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