Transmembrane protein with an EGF-like and two Follistatin-like domains 2 (TMEFF2) is a 374-residue long type-I transmembrane proteoglycan which is proteolytically shed from the cell surface. The protein is involved in a range of functions including metabolism, neuroprotection, apoptosis, embryonic development, onco-suppression and endocrine function. TMEFF2
is methylated in numerous cancers, and an inverse correlation with the stage, response to therapy and survival outcome has been observed. Moreover, TMEFF2
methylation increases with breast, colon and gastric cancer progression. TMEFF2
is methylated early during oncogenesis in breast and colorectal cancer, and the detection of methylated free-circulating TMEFF2
DNA has been suggested as a potential diagnostic tool. The TMEFF2 downregulation signature equals and sometimes outperforms the Gleason and pathological scores in prostate cancer. TMEFF2
is downregulated in glioma and cotricotropinomas, and it impairs the production of adrenocorticotropic hormone in glioma cells. Interestingly, through binding the amyloid β protein, its precursor and derivatives, TMEFF2 provides neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s disease. Despite undergoing extensive investigation over the last two decades, the primary literature regarding TMEFF2 is incoherent and offers conflicting information, in particular, the oncogenic vs. onco-suppressive role of TMEFF2 in prostate cancer. For the first time, we have compiled, contextualised and critically analysed the vast body of TMEFF2-related literature and answered the apparent discrepancies regarding its function, tissue expression, intracellular localization and oncogenic vs. onco-suppressive role.
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