HER-2/neu receptor in prostate cancer development and progression to androgen independence

Tumori. Mar-Apr 2004;90(2):163-70.


Development of prostate cancer and progression to androgen-independent disease is correlated with increased expression of growth factors and receptors capable of establishing autocrine and/or paracrine growth-stimulatory loops. A thorough review was made of the current literature and recent abstract presentations at scientific meetings focusing on the role of the HER-2/neu (c-erbB2) receptor in prostate cancer and the potential clinical usefulness of its specific inhibitors. In the past 10 years, conflicting results on HER-2/neu expression in prostate cancer have been reported. More recently, four studies have shown experimental evidence of HER-2/neu in the development of prostate cancer and, more specifically, in the progression to a hormone-refractory clinical behavior. Furthermore, it has been proposed that HER-2 family and androgen receptors function synergistically in the absence of androgen, which suggests a cross-talk between the HER-2/neu and androgen receptor pathways. Finally, clinical trials are in progress in prostate cancer patients to test novel agents that selectively interfere with HER-2/neu activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • ErbB Receptors / drug effects
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / metabolism
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Receptor Cross-Talk / drug effects
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / drug effects
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Androgens
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2