Clinical implications of the ErbB/epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor family and its ligands in ovarian cancer

Jacqueline M. Lafky, Jason A. Wilken, Andre T. Baron, Nita J. Maihle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


The ERBB or EGF receptor (EGFR) proto-oncogene family, which consists of four structurally-related transmembrane receptors (i.e., EGFR, ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4), plays an etiological role in the molecular pathogenesis of cancer and is a key therapeutic target in many types of cancer, including ovarian cancer. These ErbB/EGF receptor tyrosine kinases play important physiologic roles in cell proliferation, survival, adhesion, motility, invasion, and angiogenesis. It is, therefore, not surprising that gene amplification, genetic mutation, and altered transcription/translation result in aberrant ErbB/EGF receptor expression and/or signal transduction, contributing to the development of malignant transformation. Clinically, the diagnostic, prognostic, and theragnostic significance of any single ErbB receptor and/or ErbB ligand is controversial, but generally, ErbB receptor overexpression has been correlated with poor prognosis and decreased therapeutic responsiveness in ovarian cancer patients. Thus, anticancer agents targeting ErbB/EGF receptors hold great promise for personalized cancer treatment. Yet, challenges remain in designing prospective clinical trials to assess the clinical utility of ErbB receptors and their ligands to diagnose cancer; to predict progression-free and overall survival, therapeutic responsiveness, and disease recurrence; and to monitor treatment responsiveness. Here, we review the tissue expression and serum biomarker studies that have evaluated the diagnostic, prognostic, and theragnostic utility of ErbB/EGF receptors, their circulating soluble isoforms (sEGFR/sErbBs), and their cognate ligands in ovarian cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-265
Number of pages34
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Amphiregulin
  • Biomarkers
  • EGF family
  • EGF receptor
  • ErbB receptors
  • HER family
  • Heregulins
  • Neuregulins
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Receptor tyrosine kinases
  • Soluble ErbB receptors
  • TGF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical implications of the ErbB/epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor family and its ligands in ovarian cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this