The Yin and Yang of bone morphogenetic proteins in cancer

Ashok Singh, Rebecca J Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) were first studied as growth factors or morphogens of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily. These growth molecules, originally associated with bone and cartilage development, are now known to play an important role in morphogenesis and homeostasis in many other tissues. More recently, significant contributions from BMPs, their receptors, and interacting molecules have been linked to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. On the other hand, BMPs can sometimes function as a tumor suppressor. Our report highlights these new roles in the pathogenesis of cancer that may suggest novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-313
Number of pages15
JournalCytokine and Growth Factor Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIAMS , NIH grant RO1 AR052713 (RJM). We would like to thank Anupama Singh, PhD and Nyssa Readio for their helpful suggestions and careful reading of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Rebecca J. Morris received her Ph.D. in 1981 in Biology from Syracuse University. After working as a Research Associate with Thomas Slaga's group at M.D. Andersons’ Science Park, she accepted a position at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research in Wynnewood, PA. In 2001, Dr. Morris moved her program to the Departments of Dermatology and Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan, New York. She is currently Leader of the Laboratory of Stem Cells and Cancer at the Hormel Institute/University of Minnesota directed by Dr. Zigang Dong. Dr. Morris has maintained an interest in keratinocyte stem cells and cancer from her graduate work, and has been funded by grants from the ACS, NIAMS, and NCI. Her interest in BMPs and cancer, particularly BMP5, grew out of a genetic approach to identify stem cell regulatory genes in the epidermis.


  • Bone morphogenetic proteins
  • Bone morphogenetic receptors
  • Cancer
  • Metastasis
  • TGF-β


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