Fibroblast growth factors in cancer: therapeutic possibilities

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2002 Aug;6(4):469-82. doi: 10.1517/14728222.6.4.469.


The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family of signalling molecules and its receptors (FGFRs) contribute to normal developmental and physiological processes. However, the subversion of this powerful growth stimulatory pathway has been implicated in the generation of a variety of pathological conditions. This review focuses on the role of FGF/FGFRs in cancer. The case will be made that this signalling pathway is associated with and functionally important for the growth of some human tumours. As such, FGF/FGFRs can be viewed as rational therapeutic oncology targets and strategies used to inhibit these molecules are discussed. The therapeutic exploitation of tumour-associated FGFR expression to deliver toxins or antiproliferative signals to tumour cells is also reviewed, as is the use of FGFs as protein therapeutics to alleviate the side effects of cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / adverse effects
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / analysis
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / classification
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Drug Carriers
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors