FGFs are pleiotropic growth factors that control cell proliferation, migration and differentiation. However, FGF transduction studies have so far focused primarily on the mitogenic effect of this growth factor family and it has been difficult to assess if the described intracellular signaling pathways are dedicated solely to cell proliferation, or whether they are equally important for the migratory activity often seen in responsive cells. We review here papers in which the migratory effects of this growth factor family were clearly discriminated from proliferative effects. In toto, these studies suggest that cells use different signaling pathways for migration, such as Src and p38 MAP kinase, from those for proliferation, which tend to upregulate the ERKs. Which signaling pathway a cell uses for proliferation or migration appears to depend on many factors, including the structure and the quantity of available FGF trapped in the basal lamina by heparan sulfate co-factors, the disposition of cognate high affinity receptors and the general environment of the cell. Thus the density of the cell population, the state of the cell cycle, the presence of other factors or receptors will modulate the migratory response of cells to FGF.