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The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in head and neck cancer: its role and treatment implications

Authors
Publisher
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Source
PMC
Keywords
  • Review
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a member of the ErbB family of receptors. Its stimulation by endogenous ligands, EGF or transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-α) results in activation of intracellular tyrosine kinase, therefore, cell cycle progression. High levels of EGFR expression are correlated with poor prognosis and resistance to radiation therapy in a variety of cancers, mostly in squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Blocking the EGFR by a monoclonal antibody results in inhibition of the stimulation of the receptor, therefore, in inhibition of cell proliferation, enhanced apoptosis, and reduced angiogenesis, invasiveness and metastases. The EGFR is a prime target for new anticancer therapy in SCCHN, and other agents in development include small molecular tyrosine kinase inhibitors and antisense therapies.

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