Novel therapeutic inhibitors of the c-Met signaling pathway in cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Apr 1;15(7):2207-14. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1306. Epub 2009 Mar 24.


A wide variety of human malignancies exhibit sustained c-Met stimulation, overexpression, or mutation, including carcinomas of the breast, liver, lung, ovary, kidney, and thyroid. Notably, activating mutations in c-Met have been positively identified in patients with a particular hereditary form of papillary renal cancer, directly implicating c-Met in human tumorigenesis. Aberrant signaling of the c-Met signaling pathway due to dysregulation of the c-Met receptor or overexpression of its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), has been associated with an aggressive phenotype. Extensive evidence that c-Met signaling is involved in the progression and spread of several cancers and an enhanced understanding of its role in disease have generated considerable interest in c-Met and HGF as major targets in cancer drug development. This has led to the development of a variety of c-Met pathway antagonists with potential clinical applications. The three main approaches of pathway-selective anticancer drug development have included antagonism of ligand/receptor interaction, inhibition of the tyrosine kinase catalytic activity, and blockade of the receptor/effector interaction. Several c-Met antagonists are now under clinical investigation. Preliminary clinical results of several of these agents, including both monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, have been encouraging. Several multitargeted therapies have also been under investigation in the clinic and have demonstrated promise, particularly with regard to tyrosine kinase inhibition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met