Nerve Growth Factor Receptors and Signaling in Breast Cancer
Ikram El Yazidi-Belkoura,
Xuefen Le Bourhis,
Nerve growth factor (NGF) has long been known for its effects on neuronal cell survival and differentiation. This prototypical neurotrophic factor stimulates neurons through two distinct classes of membrane receptors: the TrkA tyrosine kinase receptor, and the tumor necrosis factor receptor family member p75NTR, also known as the common neurotrophin receptor. Somewhat surprisingly, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that NGF is also a major stimulator of breast cancer cell growth. Both the survival and proliferation of breast cancer cells are strongly stimulated by NGF, mediated by TrkA and p75NTR respectively, utilising signaling pathways similar to those described for neurons. In addition, although NGF is produced by breast cancer cells, it is not in normal breast epithelial cells, giving rise to an autocrine stimulation of tumor growth. Therefore, NGF receptors and signaling are thus looking increasingly promising as potential drug targets for breast cancer.
Keywords: breast cancer, nerve growth factor, receptors and signaling, therapeutic target
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