MET signaling: novel targeted inhibition and its clinical development in lung cancer

J Thorac Oncol. 2012 Feb;7(2):459-67. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3182417e44.


MET is a versatile receptor tyrosine kinase within the human kinome which is activated by its specific natural ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). MET signaling plays an important physiologic role in embryogenesis and early development, whereas its deregulation from an otherwise quiescent signaling state in mature adult tissues can lead to upregulated cell proliferation, survival, scattering, motility and migration, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. Studies have shown that MET pathway is activated in many solid and hematological malignancies, including lung cancer, and can be altered through ligand or receptor overexpression, genomic amplification, MET mutations, and alternative splicing. The MET signaling pathway is known to be an important novel target for therapeutic intervention in human cancer. A number of novel therapeutic agents that target the MET/HGF pathway have been tested in early-phase clinical studies with promising results. Phase 3 studies of MET targeting agents have just been initiated. We will review the MET signaling pathway and biology in lung cancer and the recent clinical development and advances of MET/HGF targeting agents with emphasis on discussion of issues and strategies needed to optimize the personalized therapy and further clinical development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met