The biology of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2

Curr Oncol Rep. 1999 Sep;1(1):16-22. doi: 10.1007/s11912-999-0005-7.


Our understanding of the normal signaling mechanisms and functions of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and other members of the HER family, namely epidermal growth factor receptor, HER3, and HER4, is growing rapidly. Activation of these receptors results in a diverse array of signals through the formation of homodimeric and heterodimeric receptor complexes; HER2 is the preferred dimerization partner for the other HERs. These oligomeric receptor complexes activate distinct signaling pathways, such as the Ras-MAPK and PI3-kinase pathways. These, in turn, affect various cellular processes. Recent gene deletion experiments in mice point to an important role for HER2 in cardiac and neural development, and evidence from other studies indicates that HER2 is involved in normal breast growth and development. Thus, HER2 is a key component of a complex signaling network that plays a critical role in the regulation of tissue development, growth, and differentiation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / physiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptor, ErbB-2