The epidermal growth factor receptor family: biology driving targeted therapeutics

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 May;65(10):1566-84. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-7440-8.


The epidermal growth factor family of receptor tyrosine kinases (ErbBs) plays essential roles in regulating cell proliferation, survival, differentiation and migration. The ErbB receptors carry out both redundant and restricted functions in mammalian development and in the maintenance of tissues in the adult mammal. Loss of regulation of the ErbB receptors underlies many human diseases, most notably cancer. Our understanding of the function and complex regulation of these receptors has fueled the development of targeted therapeutic agents for human malignancies in the last 15 years. Here we review the biology of ErbB receptors, including their structure, signaling, regulation, and roles in development and disease, then briefly touch on their increasing roles as targets for cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Disease / etiology
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / physiology*
  • Genes, erbB / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Multigene Family
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Receptor Cross-Talk / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • ErbB Receptors