Molecular mechanisms and translational therapies for human epidermal receptor 2 positive breast cancer

Quanxia Lv, Ziyuan Meng, Yuanyuan Yu, Feng Jiang, Daogang Guan, Chao Liang, Junwei Zhou, Aiping Lyu*, Ge Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Human epidermal receptor 2 (HER2) positive breast cancer (HER2+ BC) is the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer, with poor prognosis and a high rate of recurrence. About one third of breast cancer is HER2+ BC with significantly high expression level of HER2 protein compared to other subtypes. Therefore, HER2 is an important biomarker and an ideal target for developing therapeutic strategies for the treatment HER2+ BC. In this review, HER2 structure and physiological and pathological roles in HER2+ BC are discussed. Two diagnostic tests, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), for evaluating HER2 expression levels are briefly introduced. The current mainstay targeted therapies for HER2+ BC include monoclonal antibodies, small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, antibody–drug conjugates (ADC) and other emerging anti-HER2 agents. In clinical practice, combination therapies are commonly adopted in order to achieve synergistic drug response. This review will help to better understand the molecular mechanism of HER2+ BC and further facilitate the development of more effective therapeutic strategies against HER2+ BC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2095
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Antibody–drug conjugates
  • Diagnostic tests
  • HER2 positive breast cancer
  • Molecular mechanism
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Small molecular inhibitors
  • Translational therapy


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