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The Scatter Factor Signaling Pathways as Therapeutic Associated Target in Cancer Treatment

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Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are key regulators of critical cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, neo-vascularization, and tissue repair. In addition to their importance in the regulation of normal physiology, aberrant expression of certain RTKs has also been associated to the development and progression of many types of cancer. c-Met and RON are two RTKs with closely related sequences, structural homology, and similar functional properties. Both these receptors, once activated by their respective ligands, the Hepatocyte Growth Factor/Scatter Factor (HGF/SF1) and the Macrophage Stimulating Protein/Scatter Factor 2 (MSP/SF2), can induce cell migration, invasion and proliferation. Soon after its discovery in the mid-1980s, c-Met attracted a great interest because of its role in modulating cell motility. Moreover, the causal role for c-Met activating mutations in human cancer propelled an intensive drug discovery effort throughout academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies. While c-Met is now a well-accepted target for anticancer drug design, less is known about the role of RON in cancer and less has been done to target this receptor. In this review we will discuss the biological relevance of c-Met and RON, their deregulation in human cancers and the progress, so far, in identifying c-Met and RON signaling inhibitors. Finally, we will focus on the development of therapeutic strategies and drug efficacy studies based on interfering the scatter factor signaling pathways.
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Keywords: HGF; MSP; RON; c-Met; cancer therapy; tirosine kinase inhibitors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Veterinary Morphophysiology, Via Leonardo da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), University of Turin, Italy.

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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