The fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family includes four highly conserved receptor tyrosine kinases: FGFR1-4. Upon ligand binding, FGFRs activate an array of downstream signaling pathways, such as the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) and the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathways. These FGFR cascades play crucial roles in tumor cell proliferation, angiogenesis, migration, and survival. The combination of knockdown studies and pharmaceutical inhibition in preclinical models demonstrates that FGFRs are attractive targets for therapeutic intervention in cancer. Multiple FGFR inhibitors with various structural skeletons have been designed, synthesized, and evaluated. Reviews on FGFRs have recently focused on FGFR signaling, pathophysiology, and functions in cancer or other diseases. In this article, we review recent advances in structure-activity relationships (SAR) of FGFR inhibitors, as well as the FGFR-targeting drug design strategies currently employed in targeting deregulated FGFRs by antibodies and small molecule inhibitors.
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