The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) regulates the proliferation of keratinocytes through multiple mechanisms that differ depending on the localization of the cell within the skin. Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, the main etiologic factor in the development of skin cancer, also activates the receptor. In this review, we discuss how the UV-induced activation of EGFR regulates the response of the skin to UV. UV-induced EGFR activation increases keratinocyte proliferation, suppresses apoptosis, and augments and accelerates epidermal hyperplasia in response to UV. Pharmacological inhibition of the UV-induced activation of EGFR in a genetically initiated mouse skin tumorigenesis model suppresses tumorigenesis and the activation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases and phosphatidyl inositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling pathways. EGFR has pleiotropic, complex, and cell-type-specific functions in cutaneous keratinocytes; suggesting that the receptor is an appropriate target for the development of molecularly targeted therapies for skin cancer and other pathologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis