Understanding EGFR Signaling in Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Stem Cells: Overexpression and Therapeutic Implications


Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs/HERs) and downstream signaling pathways have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several malignancies including breast cancer and its resistance to treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs. Consequently, several monoclonal antibodies as well as small molecule inhibitors targeting these pathways have emerged as therapeutic tools in the recent past. However, studies have shown that utilizing these molecules in combination with chemotherapy has yielded only limited success. This review describes the current understanding of EGFRs/HERs and associated signaling pathways in relation to development of breast cancer and responses to various cancer treatments in the hope of pointing to improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Also, we review the role of breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) in disease and the potential to target these cells.