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Exp Cell Res. 2011 Feb 15;317(4):392-404. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.11.007. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

Ligand stimulation of ErbB4 and a constitutively-active ErbB4 mutant result in different biological responses in human pancreatic tumor cell lines.

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Purdue University College of Pharmacy, Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2064, USA.


Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Indeed, it has been estimated that 37,000 Americans will die from this disease in 2010. Late diagnosis, chemoresistance, and radioresistance of these tumors are major reasons for poor patient outcome, spurring the search for pancreatic cancer early diagnostic and therapeutic targets. ErbB4 (HER4) is a member of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), a family that also includes the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR/ErbB1/HER1), Neu/ErbB2/HER2, and ErbB3/HER3. These RTKs play central roles in many human malignancies by regulating cell proliferation, survival, differentiation, invasiveness, motility, and apoptosis. In this report we demonstrate that human pancreatic tumor cell lines exhibit minimal ErbB4 expression; in contrast, these cell lines exhibit varied and in some cases abundant expression and basal tyrosine phosphorylation of EGFR, ErbB2, and ErbB3. Expression of a constitutively-dimerized and -active ErbB4 mutant inhibits clonogenic proliferation of CaPan-1, HPAC, MIA PaCa-2, and PANC-1 pancreatic tumor cell lines. In contrast, expression of wild-type ErbB4 in pancreatic tumor cell lines potentiates stimulation of anchorage-independent colony formation by the ErbB4 ligand Neuregulin 1β. These results illustrate the multiple roles that ErbB4 may be playing in pancreatic tumorigenesis and tumor progression.

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