Transglutaminase is a tumor cell and cancer stem cell survival factor

Richard L. Eckert, Matthew L. Fisher, Dan Grun, Gautam Adhikary, Wen Xu, Candace Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Recent studies indicate that cancer cells express elevated levels of type II transglutaminase (TG2), and that expression is further highly enriched in cancer stem cells derived from these cancers. Moreover, elevated TG2 expression is associated with enhanced cancer stem cell marker expression, survival signaling, proliferation, migration, invasion, integrin-mediated adhesion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and drug resistance. TG2 expression is also associated with formation of aggressive and metastatic tumors that are resistant to conventional therapeutic intervention. This review summarizes the role of TG2 as a cancer cell survival factor in a range of tumor types, and as a target for preventive and therapeutic intervention. The literature supports the idea that TG2, in the closed/GTP-binding/signaling conformation, drives cancer cell and cancer stem cell survival, and that TG2, in the open/crosslinking conformation, is associated with cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-958
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Drug resistance
  • EMT
  • Epidermal cancer stem cells
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • Glioma
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Transglutaminase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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