Amphiregulin: Role in mammary gland development and breast cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Extensive epithelial cell proliferation underlies the ductal morphogenesis of puberty that generates the mammary tree that will eventually fill the fat pad. This estrogen-dependent process is believed to be essentially dependent on locally produced growth factors that act in a paracrine fashion. EGF-like growth factor ligands, acting through EGF receptors are some of the principal promoters of pubertal ductal morphogenesis. Amphiregulin is the most abundant EGF-like growth factor in the pubertal mammary gland. Its gene is transcriptionally regulated by ER alpha, and recent evidence identifies it as a key mediator of the estrogen-driven epithelial cell proliferation of puberty: The pubertal deficiency in mammary gland ductal morphogenesis in ER alpha, amphiregulin, and EGFR knockout mice phenocopy each other. As a prognostic indicator in human breast cancer, amphiregulin indicates an outcome identical to that predicted by ER alpha presence. Despite this, a range of studies both on preneoplastic human breast tissue and on cell culture based models of breast cancer, suggest a possibly significant role for amphiregulin in driving human breast cancer progression. Here we summarise our current understanding of amphiregulin's contribution to mammary gland development and breast cancer progression.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology

Keywords

  • puberty, amphiregulin, estrogen, ductal morphogenesis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-169
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Volume13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes