Signaling by the HER2 proto-oncogene product results in the activation of several biochemical pathways that in turn modulate the expression and function of molecules involved in cell proliferation and survival. It is well established that forced overexpression of HER2 results in transformation of nontumor cells, and that high levels of HER2 in tumors are associated with a more aggressive biological behavior. It is also clear that a subset of HER2-overexpressing tumors is dependent on HER2 function for proliferation and/or survival. Over the last few years, several elegant studies have dissected the biochemical mechanisms of HER2 signaling. This research has provided information about critical functional domains in HER2 that can be targeted with rational molecular approaches, some of which are already being implemented at the bedside. This report will focus on one of these anti-HER2 signaling strategies.
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