The clinical and functional significance of c-Met in breast cancer: a review.
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Breast Cancer Res
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c-Met is a receptor tyrosine kinase that upon binding of its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), activates downstream pathways with diverse cellular functions that are important in organ development and cancer progression. Anomalous c-Met signalling has been described in a variety of cancer types, and the receptor is regarded as a novel therapeutic target. In breast cancer there is a need to develop new treatments, particularly for the aggressive subtypes such as triple-negative and basal-like cancer, which currently lack targeted therapy. Over the last two decades, much has been learnt about the functional role of c-Met signalling in different models of breast development and cancer. This work has been complemented by clinical studies, establishing the prognostic significance of c-Met in tissue samples of breast cancer. While the clinical trials of anti-c-Met therapy in advanced breast cancer progress, there is a need to review the existing evidence so that the potential of these treatments can be better appreciated. The aim of this article is to examine the role of HGF/c-Met signalling in in vitro and in vivo models of breast cancer, to describe the mechanisms of aberrant c-Met signalling in human tissues, and to give a brief overview of the anti-c-Met therapies currently being evaluated in breast cancer patients. We will show that the HGF/c-Met pathway is associated with breast cancer progression and suggest that there is a firm basis for continued development of anti-c-Met treatment, particularly for patients with basal-like and triple-negative breast cancer.