Targeting receptor tyrosine kinase MET in cancer: small molecule inhibitors and clinical progress

J Med Chem. 2014 Jun 12;57(11):4427-53. doi: 10.1021/jm401427c. Epub 2013 Dec 18.


The HGF/MET signaling pathway is critical in mediating a wide range of normal physiological functions including embryological development, wound healing, and tissue regeneration. Aberrant activation of the pathway has frequently been found in human cancers via protein overexpression, mutation, gene amplification, and also paracrine or autocrine up-regulation. In addition, the activation of HGF/MET signaling confers resistance to the effects of cancer treatments. Therefore, inhibition of the HGF/MET signaling pathway has great potential for therapeutic intervention in cancer. Currently, there are three approaches toward modulating HGF/MET signaling in human clinical studies of cancer: anti-HGF monoclonal antibodies, MET monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule MET inhibitors. Preliminary clinical benefit from inhibition of HGF or MET has been reported. This Perspective will provide an overview of the HGF/MET signaling pathway in cancer and then will review the development of small molecule MET inhibitors and their progress in clinical applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Up-Regulation


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met