Rho GTPases: Big Players in Breast Cancer Initiation, Metastasis and Therapeutic Responses

Brock Humphries, Zhishan Wang, Chengfeng Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Rho GTPases, a family of the Ras GTPase superfamily, are key regulators of the actin cytoskeleton. They were originally thought to primarily affect cell migration and invasion; however, recent advances in our understanding of the biology and function of Rho GTPases have demonstrated their diverse roles within the cell, including membrane trafficking, gene transcription, migration, invasion, adhesion, survival and growth. As these processes are critically involved in cancer initiation, metastasis and therapeutic responses, it is not surprising that studies have demonstrated important roles of Rho GTPases in cancer. Although the majority of data indicates an oncogenic role of Rho GTPases, tumor suppressor functions of Rho GTPases have also been revealed, suggesting a context and cell-type specific function for Rho GTPases in cancer. This review aims to summarize recent progresses in our understanding of the regulation and functions of Rho GTPases, specifically in the context of breast cancer. The potential of Rho GTPases as therapeutic targets and prognostic tools for breast cancer patients are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 25 2020


  • Cdc42
  • Rac
  • Rho
  • Rho GTPases
  • breast cancer
  • metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)


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