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      Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Cell Proliferation Signaling Pathways

      , *

      Cancers

      MDPI

      epidermal growth factor receptor, ErBB, signal transduction, ERK, AKT, cell cycle, cell proliferation, G1

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          Abstract

          The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that is commonly upregulated in cancers such as in non-small-cell lung cancer, metastatic colorectal cancer, glioblastoma, head and neck cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer. Various mechanisms mediate the upregulation of EGFR activity, including common mutations and truncations to its extracellular domain, such as in the EGFRvIII truncations, as well as to its kinase domain, such as the L858R and T790M mutations, or the exon 19 truncation. These EGFR aberrations over-activate downstream pro-oncogenic signaling pathways, including the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK MAPK and AKT-PI3K-mTOR pathways. These pathways then activate many biological outputs that are beneficial to cancer cell proliferation, including their chronic initiation and progression through the cell cycle. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms that regulate EGFR signal transduction, including the EGFR structure and its mutations, ligand binding and EGFR dimerization, as well as the signaling pathways that lead to G1 cell cycle progression. We focus on the induction of CYCLIN D expression, CDK4/6 activation, and the repression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor proteins (CDKi) by EGFR signaling pathways. We also discuss the successes and challenges of EGFR-targeted therapies, and the potential for their use in combination with CDK4/6 inhibitors.

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          Most cited references 492

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          Understanding the Warburg effect: the metabolic requirements of cell proliferation.

          In contrast to normal differentiated cells, which rely primarily on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to generate the energy needed for cellular processes, most cancer cells instead rely on aerobic glycolysis, a phenomenon termed "the Warburg effect." Aerobic glycolysis is an inefficient way to generate adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP), however, and the advantage it confers to cancer cells has been unclear. Here we propose that the metabolism of cancer cells, and indeed all proliferating cells, is adapted to facilitate the uptake and incorporation of nutrients into the biomass (e.g., nucleotides, amino acids, and lipids) needed to produce a new cell. Supporting this idea are recent studies showing that (i) several signaling pathways implicated in cell proliferation also regulate metabolic pathways that incorporate nutrients into biomass; and that (ii) certain cancer-associated mutations enable cancer cells to acquire and metabolize nutrients in a manner conducive to proliferation rather than efficient ATP production. A better understanding of the mechanistic links between cellular metabolism and growth control may ultimately lead to better treatments for human cancer.
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            Activating mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor underlying responsiveness of non-small-cell lung cancer to gefitinib.

            Most patients with non-small-cell lung cancer have no response to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib, which targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). However, about 10 percent of patients have a rapid and often dramatic clinical response. The molecular mechanisms underlying sensitivity to gefitinib are unknown. We searched for mutations in the EGFR gene in primary tumors from patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who had a response to gefitinib, those who did not have a response, and those who had not been exposed to gefitinib. The functional consequences of identified mutations were evaluated after the mutant proteins were expressed in cultured cells. Somatic mutations were identified in the tyrosine kinase domain of the EGFR gene in eight of nine patients with gefitinib-responsive lung cancer, as compared with none of the seven patients with no response (P<0.001). Mutations were either small, in-frame deletions or amino acid substitutions clustered around the ATP-binding pocket of the tyrosine kinase domain. Similar mutations were detected in tumors from 2 of 25 patients with primary non-small-cell lung cancer who had not been exposed to gefitinib (8 percent). All mutations were heterozygous, and identical mutations were observed in multiple patients, suggesting an additive specific gain of function. In vitro, EGFR mutants demonstrated enhanced tyrosine kinase activity in response to epidermal growth factor and increased sensitivity to inhibition by gefitinib. A subgroup of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer have specific mutations in the EGFR gene, which correlate with clinical responsiveness to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib. These mutations lead to increased growth factor signaling and confer susceptibility to the inhibitor. Screening for such mutations in lung cancers may identify patients who will have a response to gefitinib. Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Mutations of the BRAF gene in human cancer.

              Cancers arise owing to the accumulation of mutations in critical genes that alter normal programmes of cell proliferation, differentiation and death. As the first stage of a systematic genome-wide screen for these genes, we have prioritized for analysis signalling pathways in which at least one gene is mutated in human cancer. The RAS RAF MEK ERK MAP kinase pathway mediates cellular responses to growth signals. RAS is mutated to an oncogenic form in about 15% of human cancer. The three RAF genes code for cytoplasmic serine/threonine kinases that are regulated by binding RAS. Here we report BRAF somatic missense mutations in 66% of malignant melanomas and at lower frequency in a wide range of human cancers. All mutations are within the kinase domain, with a single substitution (V599E) accounting for 80%. Mutated BRAF proteins have elevated kinase activity and are transforming in NIH3T3 cells. Furthermore, RAS function is not required for the growth of cancer cell lines with the V599E mutation. As BRAF is a serine/threonine kinase that is commonly activated by somatic point mutation in human cancer, it may provide new therapeutic opportunities in malignant melanoma.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Cancers (Basel)
                Cancers (Basel)
                cancers
                Cancers
                MDPI
                2072-6694
                17 May 2017
                May 2017
                : 9
                : 5
                Affiliations
                Department of Medical Genetics and Signal Transduction Research Group, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H7, Canada; pwee@ 123456ualberta.ca
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: zhixiang.wang@ 123456ualberta.ca ; Tel.: +1-780-492-0710
                Article
                cancers-09-00052
                10.3390/cancers9050052
                5447962
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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