Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is the ligand for the tyrosine kinase receptor c-Met (Mesenchymal Epithelial Transition Factor also known as Hepatocyte Growth Factor Receptor, HGFR), a receptor with expression throughout epithelial and endothelial cell types. Activation of c-Met enhances cell proliferation, invasion, survival, angiogenesis, and motility. The c-Met pathway also stimulates tissue repair in normal cells. A body of past research shows that increased levels of HGF and/or overexpression of c-Met are associated with poor prognosis in several solid tumors, including lung cancer, as well as cancers of the head and neck, gastro-intestinal tract, breast, ovary and cervix. The HGF/c-Met signaling network is complex; both ligand-dependent and ligand-independent signaling occur. This article will provide an update on signaling through the HGF/c-Met axis, the mechanism of action of HGF/c-Met inhibitors, the lung cancer patient populations most likely to benefit, and possible mechanisms of resistance to these inhibitors. Although c-Met as a target in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) showed promise based on preclinical data, clinical responses in NSCLC patients have been disappointing in the absence of MET mutation or MET gene amplification. New therapeutics that selectively target c-Met or HGF, or that target c-Met and a wider spectrum of interacting tyrosine kinases, will be discussed.
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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)
- Lung cancer
- Targeted therapy
- c-Met (mesenchymal epithelial transition factor or hepatocyte growth factor receptor)