Table of Contents
Journal of Signal Transduction
Volume 2011, Article ID 982879, 11 pages
Review Article

Receptor-Tyrosine-Kinase-Targeted Therapies for Head and Neck Cancer

1Departments of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-1074, USA
2Department of Otolaryngology and UTMB Cancer Center, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA

Received 7 January 2011; Accepted 5 April 2011

Academic Editor: Bertrand Jean-Claude

Copyright © 2011 Lisa A. Elferink and Vicente A. Resto. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Molecular therapeutics for treating epidermal growth factor receptor-(EGFR-) expressing cancers are a specific method for treating cancers compared to general cell loss with standard cytotoxic therapeutics. However, the finding that resistance to such therapy is common in clinical trials now dampens the initial enthusiasm over this targeted treatment. Yet an improved molecular understanding of other receptor tyrosine kinases known to be active in cancer has revealed a rich network of cross-talk between receptor pathways with a key finding of common downstream signaling pathways. Such cross talk may represent a key mechanism for resistance to EGFR-directed therapy. Here we review the interplay between EGFR and Met and the type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) tyrosine kinases, as well as their contribution to anti-EGFR therapeutic resistance in the context of squamous cell cancer of the head and neck, a tumor known to be primarily driven by EGFR-related oncogenic signals.