The role of HGF/c-Met signaling in prostate cancer progression and c-Met inhibitors in clinical trials

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2011 Dec;20(12):1677-84. doi: 10.1517/13543784.2011.631523. Epub 2011 Oct 28.


Introduction: An increasing number of basic, translational and clinical studies demonstrate the importance of the protein tyrosine kinase receptor, c-Met, in the progression of prostate cancer. c-Met is overexpressed in primary prostate cancers, further increased in expression in bone metastases and is associated with the development of castrate-resistant disease. Because of its importance as a target, c-Met inhibitors have reached clinical trial for advanced, castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Areas covered: In this review, altered expression of c-Met and hepatocyte growth factor in prostate tumors and the microenvironment and how they contribute to growth and invasion of prostate cancer cells is described. Next, preclinical studies providing the support for use of c-Met inhibitors are discussed. Finally, early promising results from c-Met inhibitors in clinical trial, and future prospects for c-Met inhibitors in the treatment of advanced stage prostate cancer, are discussed.

Expert opinion: An emerging theme in treating metastatic prostate cancer is the requirement to target both the epithelial and stromal compartments. Results from clinical trials suggest that inhibitors of c-Met that block stromal-mediated c-Met activation in prostate tumors may be important therapeutic agents in at least a subset of patients with metastatic prostate cancer. However, as many of the inhibitors have multiple targets, the efficacy of targeting c-Met alone remains to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Design
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate / physiopathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism*


  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met