Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 134, Issue 1, pp 53–59 | Cite as

A monoclonal antibody to the human HER3 receptor inhibits Neuregulin 1-beta binding and co-operates with Herceptin in inhibiting the growth of breast cancer derived cell lines

  • Edith Blackburn
  • Stefania Zona
  • Mariana L. Murphy
  • Ian R. Brown
  • Samuel K. W. Chan
  • William J. Gullick
Preclinical study


The HER3 protein contributes to malignant transformation in breast and other cancer types as a consequence of elevated levels of expression, particularly in the presence of the HER2 protein. We show here that an antibody, called SGP1, to the extracellular domain of the HER3 receptor can inhibit completely Neuregulin stimulated growth of cultured breast cancer cells. Herceptin is a humanised monoclonal antibody to the HER2 protein which has an established role in the treatment of some patients with breast cancer. We demonstrate that Herceptin and SGP1 can bind simultaneously to breast cancer cells expressing both the HER2 and HER3 proteins. In the presence of moderate levels of Herceptin, addition of the SGP1 monoclonal antibody gave a dose-dependent inhibition of the growth of cells expressing both the high levels and moderate levels of HER2. The combination of Herceptin with SGP1 is effective in inhibiting breast cancer cell growth in cases where both HER2 and HER3 are expressed.


Growth Factor Receptor Monoclonal antibody HER3 Neuregulin 



The authors are grateful to the E B Hutchinson Charitable Trust for financial support for E.B. and to the Breast Cancer Campaign for S.Z. and M.L.M.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edith Blackburn
    • 1
  • Stefania Zona
    • 1
  • Mariana L. Murphy
    • 1
  • Ian R. Brown
    • 2
  • Samuel K. W. Chan
    • 1
    • 3
  • William J. Gullick
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Biology LaboratoryUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  2. 2.Microscopy and Imaging Facility, School of BiosciencesUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  3. 3.York Teaching Hospital Foundation TrustYorkUK

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