The Growth Factors Laboratory explores the role of certain signal transduction pathways in the progression of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women; according to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year worldwide and over 500,000 will die from the disease.
Approximately 30% of patients with breast cancer express excessive levels of the tyrosine kinase receptor HER2. The prognosis of these patients is clearly worse than that of patients with normal levels of the receptor. HER2 (ErbB2) belongs to the family of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which also includes HER3 (ErbB3) and HER4 (ErbB4). We are currently investigating the relevance of novel isoforms of HER2 in tumor progression and treatment.