In summary, evidence is beginning to accumulate in support of a major role for tyrosine kinase receptors (and their activating growth factors) and steroid hormones and their receptors in normal development and differentiation of the mammary gland. A point of intersection of their mechanisms of action in growth control appears to be the induction of nuclear protooncogenes such as c-myc. When c-myc is amplified, as it is in many breast cancers, EGF and FGF receptor tyrosine kinase action becomes transforming, not simply mitogenic. A source of the transforming factors could be either stromal or epithelial. This mechanism could function early in the progression of breast cancer. c-erbB-2 and EGF receptor overexpression and amplification, when they occur, appear to render tumors even more malignant and of especially poor prognosis. These mechanisms could function late in the progression of breast cancer. Transgenic mouse studies have begun to echo these themes. They have established that a growth factor (TGF-alpha) and its receptor (EGF receptor), which appear to be important in normal mouse and human proliferation and gland development, and a protooncogene (c-myc), commonly amplified and overexpressed in human and mouse breast cancer, can each contribute to mammary carcinogenesis. The mechanisms of the two are likely to be distinct. myc is likely to be acting as a tumor initiator in combination with normal proliferative factors, whereas TGF-alpha is likely to be acting as a hyperproliferative (promotional) factor in combination with a normal background of mutational events. The role of unmutated but amplified erbB-2 in the transgenic mouse is not yet known.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||Cancer treatment and research|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1992|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research