EGF receptor in neoplasia and metastasis

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 1993 Sep;12(3-4):255-74. doi: 10.1007/BF00665957.


EGFR is a member of the tyrosine kinase family of cell surface receptors with a wide range of expression throughout development and in a variety of different cell types. The receptor can transmit signals to cells: i) upon interaction with ligands such as EGF, TGF alpha, amphiregulin or heparin binding EGF, ii) upon truncation or mutation of extracellular and/or intracellular domains, iii) upon amplification of a basal receptor activity (in the absence of ligand) through cooperation with other cellular signaling pathways or nuclear events (e.g. expression of v-erbA). The activated EGFR can exert pleiotropic functions on cells, depending on their tissue origin and state of differentiation. Under certain conditions it can also contribute to neoplasia and development of metastases. Such conditions can exist upon aberrant receptor/ligand expression and activation (e.g. in the wrong cell; at the wrong time; in the wrong amounts). Aberrant signalling can also occur through constitutive EGFR activation. Oncogenic potential of EGFR has been demonstrated in a wide range of experimental animals. EGFR is also implicated in human cancer, where it may contribute both to the initiation (glioblastoma) and progression (epithelial tumors) of the disease. EGFR may influence key steps in the processes of tumor invasion and dissemination. Involvement of EGFR in tumor spread may indicate a potential use of this receptor as a target for antimetastatic therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • ErbB Receptors / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases