We have recently shown that UVB radiation activates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/extracellular regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and p38 signaling pathways in keratinocytes. However, the functional relevance of these processes for downstream signaling and cell survival remains to be determined. The specific EGFR inhibitor PD153035 markedly decreased UVB-induced phosphorylation of EGFR, ERK1/2 and shc, whereas p38 activation was unaffected. PD153035 pretreatment followed by UVB reduced clonogenic potential and enhanced peroxide production, apoptosis and cell death. Our data suggest that ligand-independent phosphorylation of EGFR and likely dependent downstream signaling pathways regulate cellular defense mechanisms important for cell survival following oxidative stress.