BACKGROUND A better understanding of the molecular pathways that characterize cell growth, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and invasion has provided novel targets in cancer therapy. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mediated signal transduction has been one of the most studied pathways in carcinogenesis. The phosphorylation of EGFR activates multiple biological processes, including apoptosis, differentiation, cellular proliferation, motility, invasion, adhesion, DNA repair, and survival. EGFR is a transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor involved in the proliferation and survival of cancer cells. EGFR is the first molecular target against which monoclonal antibodies have been developed for cancer therapy. OBJECTIVE To review the mechanisms underlying the effects of EGFR in nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and their potential role as targeted therapies in the treatment thereof. CONCLUSIONS EGFR plays an important role in tumorigenesis of NMSC, especially metastatic squamous cell carcinoma, via mechanisms similar to those of other visceral tumors. Pharmacologic inhibitors of EGFR pathway of tumor production may offer an effective therapeutic strategy to block tumor growth.
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