The ErbB2 Signaling Network as a Target for Breast Cancer Therapy

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Abstract

Overexpression of the ErbB2/Her2 receptor tyrosine kinase in breast cancers is associated with the most aggressive tumors. Experimental studies have revealed that ErbB2 shows many features of a therapeutic target: ErbB2 is able to confer many of the characteristics of a cancerous cell, including uncontrolled proliferation, resistance to apoptosis and increased motility; ErbB2 overexpression is specific to tumor cells; as a cell surface-associated protein, it is easily accessible to drugs and as a kinase it is amenable to targeted inhibition by small molecules. Recent clinical results demonstrate the efficacy of ErbB2-targeting therapy and promise an expanding use of ErbB2-targeting drugs for breast cancer treatment. However, as only a fraction of patients responds successfully to therapy and risks of recurrence are still high, further investigation is required for an improved understanding of the complex network of signaling pathways underlying ErbB2-driven cancer progression.

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