Met-related receptor tyrosine kinase Ron in tumor growth and metastasis

Adv Cancer Res. 2008;100:1-33. doi: 10.1016/S0065-230X(08)00001-8.


The Ron receptor is a member of the Met family of cell surface receptor tyrosine kinases and is primarily expressed on epithelial cells and macrophages. The biological response of Ron is mediated by binding of its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor-like protein/macrophage stimulating-protein (HGFL). HGFL is primarily synthesized and secreted from hepatocytes as an inactive precursor and is activated at the cell surface. Binding of HGFL to Ron activates Ron and leads to the induction of a variety of intracellular signaling cascades that leads to cellular growth, motility and invasion. Recent studies have documented Ron overexpression in a variety of human cancers including breast, colon, liver, pancreas, and bladder. Moreover, clinical studies have also shown that Ron overexpression is associated with both worse patient outcomes as well as metastasis. Forced overexpression of Ron in transgenic mice leads to tumorigenesis in both the lung and the mammary gland and is associated with metastatic dissemination. While Ron overexpression appears to be a hallmark of many human cancers, the mechanisms by which Ron induces tumorigenesis and metastasis are still unclear. Several strategies are currently being undertaken to inhibit Ron as a potential therapeutic target; current strategies include the use of Ron blocking proteins, small interfering RNA (siRNA), monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule inhibitors. In total, these data suggest that Ron is a critical factor in tumorigenesis and that inhibition of this protein, alone or in combination with current therapies, may prove beneficial in the treatment of cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Growth and Development / genetics
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / chemistry
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • macrophage stimulating protein
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • RON protein
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases