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Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2010 Sep;11(6):436-50.

EGFR(s) in aging and carcinogenesis of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Cells of the gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa are subject to a constant process of renewal which, in normal adults, reflects a balance between the rates of cell production and cell loss. Detailed knowledge of these events is, therefore, essential for a better understanding of the normal aging processes as well as many GI diseases, particularly malignancy, that represent disorders of tissue growth. In general, many GI dysfunctions, including malignancy, increase with advancing age, and aging itself is associated with alterations in structural and functional integrity of the GI tract. Although the regulatory mechanisms for age-related increase in the incidence of GI-cancers are yet to be fully delineated, recent evidence suggests a role for epidermal growth family receptors and its family members {referred to as EGFR(s)} in the development and progression of carcinogenesis during aging. The present communication discusses the involvement of EGFR(s) in regulating events of GI cancers during advancing age and summarizes the current available therapeutics targeting these receptors. The current review also describes the effectiveness of ErbB inhibitors as well as combination therapies. Additionally, the involvement of GI stem cells in the development of the age-related rise in GI cancers is emphasized.

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