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Gene of the month: MET

Abstract

The MET receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) are potential therapeutic targets in many human malignancies, making this pathway an important focus of molecular and cancer research. MET mutations have been detected in various tumours. In addition, many tumour types demonstrate MET and HGF/SF overexpression and amplification. The MET signal transduction cascade is complex, and manifests in a broad spectrum of mitogenic and morphogenic functions, affecting cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, morphology and survival. Cancer cells commandeer the physiological functions of this signalling axis to facilitate invasion and metastasis. Significant progress has been made in the development of agents that inhibit MET-HGF/SF signalling. In this article, we outline the key features of the MET gene, its protein product and the ligand HGF/SF, to provide an overview of this important signalling pathway and offer a summary of the relevant pathological and clinical directions of research.

  • GENETICS
  • GENE AMPLIFICATION
  • CANCER
  • ONCOGENES

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    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Association of Clinical Pathologists