Affiliation: Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Unit 424, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson CancerCenter, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77030, USA.
Advances in molecular biology have identified tumor markers that not only predict prognosis and therapeutic response but may also function as potential therapeutic targets. Activated growth factor receptors induce breast cancer cells to proliferate, invade, and metastasize in experimental models. Overexpression of growth factor receptors has been associated with a poor clinical outcome in breast cancer patients. Biological therapy with monoclonal antibody directed against growth factor receptor pathways became important targeted therapy in breast cancer and is being pursued on various fronts. The anti-HER2 antibody trastuzumab is approved in the metastatic setting and is now trying to find the place in the adjuvant setting. Phase II and III studies with antibodies directed against VEGF and EGFR are also ongoing.