The receptor tyrosine kinase MET has been studied of a large variety of human cancers, including lung and mesothelioma. The MET receptor and its ligand HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) play important roles in cell growth, survival and migration, and dysregulation of the HGF-MET pathway leads to oncogenic changes including tumor proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis. In small cell lung cancer (SCLC), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), MET is dysregulated via overexpression, constitutive activation, gene amplification, ligand-dependent activation, mutation or epigenetic mechanisms. New drugs targeted against MET and HGF are currently being investigated in vitro and in vivo, with promising results. These drugs function at a variety of steps within the HGF-MET pathway, including MET expression at the RNA or protein level, the ligand-receptor interaction, and tyrosine kinase function. This paper will review the structure, function, mechanisms of tumorigenesis, and potential for therapeutic inhibition of the MET receptor in lung cancer and mesothelioma. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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