Targeting MET in Lung Cancer: Will Expectations Finally Be MET?

J Thorac Oncol. 2017 Jan;12(1):15-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jtho.2016.10.014. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


The hepatocyte growth factor receptor (MET) is a potential therapeutic target in a number of cancers, including NSCLC. In NSCLC, MET pathway activation is thought to occur through a diverse set of mechanisms that influence properties affecting cancer cell survival, growth, and invasiveness. Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests a role for MET activation as both a primary oncogenic driver in subsets of lung cancer and as a secondary driver of acquired resistance to targeted therapy in other genomic subsets. In this review, we explore the biology and clinical significance behind MET proto-oncogene receptor tyrosine kinase (MET) exon 14 alterations and MET amplification in NSCLC, the role of MET amplification in the setting of acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in EGFR-mutant NSCLC, and the history of MET pathway inhibitor drug development in NSCLC, highlighting current strategies that enrich for biomarkers likely to be predictive of response. Whereas previous trials that focused on MET pathway-directed targeted therapy in unselected or MET-overexpressing NSCLC yielded largely negative results, more recent investigations focusing on MET exon 14 alterations and MET amplification have been notable for meaningful clinical responses to MET inhibitor therapy in a substantial proportion of patients.

Keywords: MET amplification; MET exon 14 skipping alterations; MET inhibitor; MET overexpression; crizotinib; non-small cell lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • MAS1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • MET protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met