Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 18, pp 2358-2377

First online:

Role of heregulin in human cancer

  • M. BreuleuxAffiliated withNovartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR), Oncology Email author 

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Heregulin (HRG) is a soluble secreted growth factor, which, upon binding and activation of ErbB3 and ErbB4 transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinases, is involved in cell proliferation, invasion, survival and differentiation of normal and malignant tissues. The HRG gene family consists of four members: HRG-1, HRG-2, HRG-3 and HRG-4, of which a multitude of different isoforms are synthesized by alternative exon splicing, showing various tissue distribution and biological activities. Disruption of the physiological balance between HRG ligands and their ErbB receptors is implicated in the formation of a variety of human cancers. The general mechanisms involved in HRG-induced tumorigenesis is discussed.


Heregulin growth factor signaling strategies ErbB tumorigenesis