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Exp Cell Res. 1999 Nov 25;253(1):78-87.

The role of the epidermal growth factor receptor family in mammary tumorigenesis and metastasis.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1, Canada.


A number of receptor systems have been implicated to play an important role in the development and progression of many human cancers. The epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor tyrosine kinase family has been found to consistently play a leading role in tumor progression. Indeed, in human breast cancer cases the prognosis of a patient is inversely correlated with the overexpression and/or amplification of this receptor family. Furthermore, downstream signaling components such as the Src kinases, PI3'K, and the Ras pathway display evidence of deregulation that can accelerate tumor progression. The transgenic mouse system has been ideal in elucidating the biological significance of this receptor family in mammary tumorigenesis. Molecular events involved in mammary tumorigenesis such as ligand binding, receptor dimerization, and the activation of downstream pathways have been addressed using this system. Although there are many molecular steps that appear to drive each stage of tumor development, the EGF receptor family appears to play a causal role in the progression to a transformed phenotype.

Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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