Nuclear EGFR signalling network in cancers: linking EGFR pathway to cell cycle progression, nitric oxide pathway and patient survival

Br J Cancer. 2006 Jan 30;94(2):184-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602941.


Emerging evidences suggest the existence of a new mode of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signalling pathway in which activated EGFR undergoes nuclear translocalization and subsequently regulates gene expression and potentially mediates other cellular processes. This signalling route is distinct from the better-characterized, traditional EGFR pathway that involves transduction of mitogenic signals through activation of multiple signalling cascades. Transcriptional activity of nuclear EGFR appears to depend on its C-terminal transactivation domain and its physical and functional interaction with other transcription factors that contain DNA-binding activity. Likely via its ability to upregulate gene expression, nuclear EGFR pathway is associated with major characteristics of more aggressive tumours: increased proliferative potential, nitric oxide synthesis, and accelerated G1/S cell cycle progression. A role of nuclear EGFR in prognostic prediction is further suggested in patients with breast carcinomas and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. It is noted that significant advances were made towards the knowledge of the nuclear EGFR pathway; however, many aspects of this new pathway remain unresolved and will be discussed in this review. As a number of other receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and cytokine receptors also undergo similar nuclear translocalization, a better understanding of the physiological and malignant nature of the nuclear EGFR pathway will likely shed light into the biology of cancer with nuclear RTKs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Nitric Oxide
  • ErbB Receptors