Surviving cell death through epidermal growth factor (EGF) signal transduction pathways: implications for cancer therapy

Cell Signal. 2006 Dec;18(12):2089-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2006.05.015. Epub 2006 May 24.


There is a balance between cell death and survival in living organisms. The ability of cells to sense their environment and decide to survive or die is dependent largely upon growth factors. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a key growth factor regulating cell survival. Through its binding to cell surface receptors, EGF activates an extensive network of signal transduction pathways that include activation of the PI3K/AKT, RAS/ERK and JAK/STAT pathways. These pathways predominantly lead to activation or inhibition of transcription factors that regulate expression of both pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins effectively blocking the apoptotic pathway. In cancer, EGF signaling pathways are often dysfunctional and targeted therapies that block EGF signaling have been successful in treating cancers. In this review, we will discuss the EGF survival signaling network, how it cross-talks with the apoptotic signaling pathways and the therapeutic drugs targeting the EGF survival pathway used to treat cancers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • ras Proteins / metabolism


  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • ras Proteins