EGF-related peptides in the pathophysiology of the mammary gland

Nicola Normanno, Fortunato Ciardiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Normal mammary gland development is the result of complex interactions between a number of hormones and growth factors. Normal and malignant human mammary epithelial cells are able to synthesize and to respond to various different, locally acting growth factors and growth inhibitors. Among these, the EGF-related peptides play an important role in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of human mammary epithelial cells. EGF4 and TGFα are able to stimulate the lobulo-alveolar development of the mammary gland in vivo as well they are involved in the pathogenesis of human breast cancer. Experimental evidence suggests that estrogen-induced proliferation of breast carcinoma cells is mediated in part by EGF-related growth factors. It has also been demonstrated that activation of certain cellular protooncogenes such as c-Ha-ras in human mammary epithelial cells results in cellular transformation and in an increased production of several EGF-related growth factors such as TGFa and amphiregulin. Coexpression of both EGF-related peptides and their own receptors frequently occurs in human breast carcinomas and in human breast cancer cell lines, suggesting that an autocrine pathway of uncontrolled cell growth sustains neoplastic transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Autocrine growth
  • Growth factors
  • Mammary gland
  • Neoplastic transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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