Role of the colony-stimulating factor (CSF)/CSF-1 receptor axis in cancer

Daniela Achkova, John Maher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer cells employ a variety of mechanisms to evade apoptosis and senescence. Pre-eminent among these is the aberrant co-expression of growth factors and their ligands, forming an autocrine growth loop that promotes tumour formation and progression. One growth loop whose transforming potential has been repeatedly demonstrated is the CSF-1/CSF-1R axis. Expression of CSF-1 and/or CSF-1R has been documented in a number of human malignancies, including breast, prostate and ovarian cancer and classical Hodgkin's lymphoma (cHL). This review summarizes the large body of work undertaken to study the role of this cytokine receptor system in malignant transformation. These studies have attributed a key role to the CSF-1/CSF-1R axis in supporting tumour cell survival, proliferation and enhanced motility. Moreover, increasing evidence implicates paracrine interactions between CSF-1 and its receptor in defining a tumour-permissive and immunosuppressive tumour-associated stroma. Against this background, we briefly consider the prospects for therapeutic targeting of this system in malignant disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number2
Early online date11 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • c-fms
  • Cancer
  • Clinical prognostic factors
  • Colony-stimulating factor-1
  • Colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor
  • Tumour progression


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