The Polymorphisms of Epidermal Growth Factor-driven Signaling and Cancer Pathogenesis


Background: Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a stimulating protein for cell proliferation and differentiation. An amplification of its signaling pathway has been frequently reported in numerous malignant tumors. Specific polymorphisms of the genes encoding proteins involved in this cellular pathway may constitute risk factors for carcinogenesis. The aim of this study was to identify the most relevant polymorphisms of EGF and their signaling pathways and their relation to carcinogenesis.

Methods: The study included 40 full-text articles published between January 2010 and May 2020, extracted from PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Science Direct databases in May 2020, using the following keywords: EGF OR epidermal growth factor AND polymorphism AND cancer OR neoplasia OR tumor.

Results: We identified relevant polymorphisms of the EGF signaling pathway that were involved in the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, glioma, lung cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and head and neck cancer. Rs4444903 variants have been widely studied and the association with numerous tumors has been confirmed by multiple studies. Other frequently investigated polymorphisms are –191C/A and –216G>T.

Conclusion: The polymorphisms of EGF signaling pathway have been widely studied in connection to various malignancies. Some predisposing variants are common in different forms of cancer. These polymorphisms might be general risk factors for carcinogenesis.


epidermal growth factor, cancer, polymorphism, signaling pathway

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