v-ErbB is an oncogene related to the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). EGFR overexpression has been observed in many pathological situations. There is a truncated form of EGFR, referred to as EGFvIII, which resembles v-ErbB in biological properties and is often expressed in certain human tumors. Aberrant EGFR expression in human cancers is often constitutive and may occur in the presence of mutated oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. To circumvent these problems, we subcloned v-ErbB into a vector which contains the estrogen receptor hormone binding domain (ER) which renders the v-ErbB:ER protein dependent upon β-estradiol for activity. v-ErbB:ER conditionally abrogated the cytokine dependence of hematopoietic cells more efficiently than activated v-Ha-Ras, v-Src, Raf or Akt. Abrogation of cytokine-dependence by v-ErbB:ER was not due to the synthesis of autocrine growth factors. Treatment of v-ErbB:ER cells with the EGFR inhibitor AG1478 efficiently induced apoptosis. Induction of apoptosis and prevention of cell cycle progression by the EGFR inhibitor were only observed when the cells were grown in response to v-ErbB:ER activation demonstrating specificity. In contrast, the other inhibitors suppressed cell cycle progression when the cells were grown in response to v-ErbB:ER or the cytokine interleukin-3. When MEK and either EGFR or PI3K/mTOR inhibitors were added, an enhanced apoptotic response was observed. Thus this conditional ErbB construct is useful to elucidate EGFR signaling and anti-apoptotic pathways in the absence of autocrine cytokine expression. ©2005 Landes Bioscience.