Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 575–588 | Cite as

The role of HER2, EGFR, and other receptor tyrosine kinases in breast cancer

  • Jennifer L. Hsu
  • Mien-Chie Hung


Breast cancer affects approximately 1 in 8 women, and it is estimated that over 246,660 women in the USA will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. Breast cancer mortality has decline over the last two decades due to early detection and improved treatment. Over the last few years, there is mounting evidence to demonstrate the prominent role of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in tumor initiation and progression, and targeted therapies against the RTKs have been developed, evaluated in clinical trials, and approved for many cancer types, including breast cancer. However, not all breast cancers are the same as evidenced by the multiple subtypes of the disease, with some more aggressive than others, showing differential treatment response to different types of drugs. Moreover, in addition to canonical signaling from the cell surface, many RTKs can be trafficked to various subcellular compartments, e.g., the multivesicular body and nucleus, where they carry out critical cellular functions, such as cell proliferation, DNA replication and repair, and therapeutic resistance. In this review, we provide a brief summary on the role of a selected number of RTKs in breast cancer and describe some mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies.


Breast cancer Receptor tyrosine kinases Targeted therapies Drug resistance 



The work was supported by the following grants: National Institutes of Health (CA109311, CA099031, and CCSG CA016672); Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (RP160710); National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.; Breast Cancer Research Foundation; Patel Memorial Breast Cancer Endowment Fund; The University of Texas MD Anderson–China Medical University and Hospital Sister Institution Fund; Ministry of Science and Technology, International Research-intensive Centers of Excellence in Taiwan (I-RiCE; MOST 105-2911-I-002-302); Ministry of Health and Welfare, China Medical University Hospital Cancer Research Center of Excellence (MOHW105-TDU-B-212-134003); and Center for Biological Pathways.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular OncologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Molecular Medicine and Graduate Institute of Cancer BiologyChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of BiotechnologyAsia UniversityTaichungTaiwan

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