Genetic Alterations of TRAF Proteins in Human Cancers


The tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNF-R)-associated factor (TRAF) family of cytoplasmic adaptor proteins regulate the signal transduction pathways of a variety of receptors, including the TNF-R superfamily, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs), RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), and cytokine receptors. TRAF-dependent signalling pathways participate in a diverse array of important cellular processes, including the survival, proliferation, differentiation, and activation of different cell types. Many of these TRAF-dependent signaling pathways have been implicated in cancer pathogenesis. Here we analyse the current evidence of genetic alterations of TRAF molecules available from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Catalog of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) as well as the published literature, including copy number variations and mutation landscape of TRAFs in various human cancers. Such analyses reveal that both gain- and loss-of-function genetic alterations of different TRAF proteins are commonly present in a number of human cancers. These include pancreatic cancer, meningioma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, head and neck cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, uterine cancer, melanoma, sarcoma, and B cell malignancies, among others. Furthermore, we summarize the key in vivo and in vitro evidence that demonstrates the causal roles of genetic alterations of TRAF proteins in tumorigenesis within different cell types and organs. Taken together, the information presented in this review provides a rationale for the development of therapeutic strategies to manipulate TRAF proteins or TRAF-dependent signalling pathways in different human cancers by precision medicine.

John Robert
Managing Editor
European Journal of Clinical Oncology
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