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Breast Cancer Res. 2004;6(5):204-10. Epub 2004 Jul 29.

New targets for therapy in breast cancer: small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Over the past several years many advances have been made in our understanding of critical pathways involved in carcinogenesis and tumor growth. These advances have led to the investigation of small molecule inhibitors of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases across a broad spectrum of malignancies. In this article we summarize the rationale for targeting members of the ErbB family in breast cancer, and review the preclinical and clinical data for the agents that are furthest in development. In addition, we highlight directions for future research, such as exploration of the potential crosstalk between the ErbB and hormone receptor signal transduction pathways, identification of predictive markers for tumor sensitivity, and development of rational combination regimens that include the tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

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