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Growth Factor Ligands
written by Michael
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Growth factors are ligands that cause growth of cells. As cancer is a problem of cell growth we can assume that these growth factors may play a role in its proliferation. Most growth factors are expressed locally and exert their action within the same tissues. They can be released from cells in an inactive form and require activation before their biological effects can occur.

We group growth factors into similar families and here are the families:

Growth Factor Family
Growth Factor Family
Epidermal Growth Factor
Fibroblast Growth Factor:
Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
Transforming Growth Factor Beta
Insulin-Like Growth Factor
Growth Factor Receptors
This is a diagram of all the Growth Factor receptors associated with Tyrosine Kinase. Tyrosine Kinase is the largest grouping of growth factor receptors.


We are unable to obtain all receptor info as at time of writing but here are the listing of growth factors so far shown up in the authors research. GIST patients will notice that the c-KIT gene is found within the PDGFR group.

Growth Factor Receptor Family Description
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors


ERBB - Frequently found to be overexpressed in several tumor types glioblastomas, head/neck squamous cell carcinomas, breast, oesophageal, urogenital and colorectal tumors.  Experimentation has shown that the antisense approach can reverse the tumorgenicity of a colon carcinoma cell line.

ERBB-2 - Found in carcinomas of the breast, ovaries, colon, lung, liver, stomach, kidneys, oesophagus, salivery gland and bladder.  Amplification of ERBB2 occurs in 20% invasive breast carcinomas.  It increases the growth rate of breast carcinomas but not their metastatic potential.

ERBB-3 - High expression of ERBB3 correlated with the presence of lymph node metastasis.


Insulin Like Receptors


IGFI - Primary Breast Tumors express high levels of IGFI receptor.  Antisense RNS to the IGFI receptor was shown to inhibit growth of human melanoma and glioma in nude mice.  In the absence of IGFI receptor a large fraction of cells may die through apoptosis, preventing efficient tumor growth.

IRR, Ros, Ltk

Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Receptors


PDGF alpha and beta - glioblastomas, chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia.

c-KIT/SCFR - (Stem Cell Factor Receptor)  GIST

CSF1 - Found in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome.


Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors


FGFR-1,FGFR-2, FGFR-3, FGFR-4, Cek2
Neurotrophin Receptor Family  
Angiogenic Receptors The growth of solid tumors is absolutely dependent on angiogenesis.  Some tumor cells can release angiogenic factors but others recruit macrophages.  Angiostatin is produced by certain tumors and inhibits angiogenesis.

FGF - binds to a family of receptors with two or three immunoglobuline like extracellular domains.  Overexpression contributes to growth of melanomas and some breast cancers..

VEGF - binds to 2 related receptors with seven immunoglobulin like extracellular domains.

Hepatocyte Growth Factor Receptor MET - Osteosarcoma, Colorectum, thyroid, ovaries, stomach, pancreas and hepatocellular carninomas.
Cytokine Receptor Family  

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