HER-2/neu signal transduction in human breast and ovarian cancer

Stem Cells. 1997;15(1):1-8. doi: 10.1002/stem.150001.


The HER-2/neu proto-oncogene encodes a 185 kDa transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase with significant sequence homology to other members of the class I receptor tyrosine kinase family. The HER-2/neu gene is amplified and/or overexpressed in 25%-30% of human breast and ovarian cancers, and overexpression of the receptor is associated with poor prognosis. Tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of the HER-2 receptor lead to activation of specific signal transduction pathways in breast and ovarian cancer cells, including the ras/MAP kinase cascade, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and phospholipase C-gamma. HER-2/neu signal transduction pathways ultimately converge on the cell nucleus, where the expression of diverse genes is induced after activation of the receptor. A more complete understanding of HER-2/neu signal transduction pathways may allow the development of specific therapeutics for the treatment of those human breast and ovarian cancers containing this alteration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptor, ErbB-2