Current advances of targeting HGF/c-Met pathway in gastric cancer

Aristomenis Anestis, Ilianna Zoi, Michalis V. Karamouzis


Despite the advances in systemic chemotherapy, gastric adenocarcinoma (GC) remains the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths with poor prognosis. The heterogeneity of GC indicates that novel biomarkers should be established in order to further classify tumors and develop individual targeted therapies. High-quality preclinical and clinical research has demonstrated that growth factor (HGF)-hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-Met) pathway plays a pivotal role on the growth, survival and invasiveness of GC. In particular, aberrant activation of HGF/c-Met signaling pathway has been associated with poor clinical outcomes, suggesting the therapeutic potential of c-Met. This has stimulated the development and evaluation of a number of c-Met targeted agents in an advance disease setting. In this review, we summarize the current state of the art in the advances on the inhibition of c-Met pathway, with particular emphasis on the clinical testing of c-Met targeted therapeutic agents. Furthermore, we discuss the challenges facing the incorporation of c-Met targeted agents in randomized trials, with the idea that the definition of the appropriate genetic and molecular context for the use of these agents remains the priority.