De-regulated FGF receptors as therapeutic targets in cancer

Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Jan;125(1):105-17. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.10.001. Epub 2009 Oct 27.


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) acting through their cognate receptors (FGFRs) play vital roles in development and de-regulation of FGF/FGFR signalling is associated with many developmental syndromes. In addition there is much interest in inhibiting FGF/FGFR signalling as a therapeutic approach to cancer. FGF/FGFR signalling is certainly important in tumour angiogenesis but studies in the last few years have uncovered increasing evidence that FGFRs are driving oncogenes in certain cancers and act in a cell autonomous fashion to maintain the malignant properties of tumour cells. These observations make FGFRs increasingly attractive as targets for therapeutic intervention in cancer. In this article, we review FGFR signalling and describe recent advances in cancer genomics and cancer cell biology that demonstrate that specific tumour types are dependent upon or addicted to de-regulated FGFR. We also describe the range of therapeutic strategies currently employed or in development to antagonise de-regulated FGFRs including antibodies and small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Antibodies
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors