The ErbB receptors and their role in cancer progression

Exp Cell Res. 2003 Mar 10;284(1):99-110. doi: 10.1016/s0014-4827(02)00099-x.


The involvement of the ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases in human cancer, as well as their essential role in a variety of physiological events during normal development, have motivated the interest in this receptor family. Approaches taken to block the activity of ErbB receptors in cancer cells have not only proven that they drive in vitro tumor cell proliferation, but have also become clinically relevant for targeting tumors with deregulated ErbB signaling. The mechanisms and downstream effectors through which the ErbB receptors influence processes linked to malignant development, including proliferation, cell survival, angiogenesis, migration, and invasion, are, however, only now becoming apparent. Our particular emphasis in this review will be on how ErbB receptors, in particular ErbB1 and ErbB2, contribute to processes linked to cancer progression. Importantly, in keeping with the emerging theme that ErbB receptors do not function in isolation, we will focus on receptor cooperativity, i.e., ErbB1 cooperates with other classes of receptors, and the ligand-less ErbB2 functions as a heterodimer with other ErbBs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dimerization
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / physiology*
  • Receptor, ErbB-3 / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ligands
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Receptor, ErbB-3