Cellular receptors for the Epidermal Growth Factor are considered important targets for the experimental treatment of human cancer. Monoclonal antibodies as well as small tyrosine kinase inhibitors have been developed and have undergone extensive evaluation in preclinical and clinical studies. Most of these studies have been conceived on the general idea that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) plays a critical role on the growth and survival of human tumors. This assumption has been derived by the successful development of BCR/ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors in human chronic myeloid leukemia as well as on the activity of antiCD20 monoclonal antibodies in lymphoproliferative disease and of anti HER2 agents in breast tumors overexpressing the targeted antigens. It is now becoming clear that factors regulating sensitivity to kinase inhibitors may differ from monoclonal antibodies and that the molecules targeted by interferring drugs must be prioritaire for growth and survival of those specific tumors in order to achieve valuable results. Recent evidence of major responses to the EGFR inhibitor Gefitinib in tumors harboring activating mutations in the EGFR appears on line with this concept. In this article we will discuss the significance of targeting the EGFR driven survival pathways. Specifically, we will afford the point of EGFR survival signalling prioritization by means of pharmacological treatment. Finally, we will address the role of profiling technologies and of novel computational system biology-based approaches for identification of innovative strategies for effective targeting of EGFR driven survival pathways.
Keywords: egfr, molecular targeting, survival pathways, Interferon, apoptosis, cellular stress, target prioritization
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