Role of erbB2 in breast cancer chemosensitivity

Bioessays. 2000 Jul;22(7):673-80. doi: 10.1002/1521-1878(200007)22:7<673::AID-BIES10>3.0.CO;2-A.


The erbB2 gene, which encodes a transmembrane growth factor receptor, is overexpressed in approximately 30% of breast cancers. Overexpressing this gene makes breast cancers resistant to certain chemotherapeutic agents. In this article, we review what is known about ErbB2-mediated chemoresistance and the controversies surrounding it. We also examine the antiapoptotic function of erbB2 as one of the molecular mechanisms of ErbB2-mediated Taxol resistance and describe several emerging strategies for overcoming intrinsic ErbB2-mediated chemoresistance. Finally, we discuss future avenues for studies of chemosensitivity in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancers that may lead to the development of effective biology-based treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Drug Resistance / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, erbB-2*
  • Humans
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use
  • Trastuzumab
  • Tretinoin / therapeutic use


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Tretinoin
  • Trastuzumab
  • Paclitaxel