Special Issue "Hepatocyte Growth Factor Pathway in Cancer"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jill M. Siegfried

Professor and Head, Department of Pharmacology, Frederick and Alice Stark Endowed Chair, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-612-624-2584
Interests: lung cancer; HGF; estrogen; EGFR; c-Met; targeted therapy; non-small cell lung cancer; cell signaling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hepatocyte Growth Factor, the ligand for the c-MET receptor, plays a critical role in normal development, wound healing, and tissue regeneration. It is also important in angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis in cancer. HGF is produced in the tumor microenvironment, usually secreted by mesenchymal cells, while c-MET is expressed by cells of many lineages, including epithelial, endothelial, and hematopoietic. In many solid tumors and hematological malignancies, mutation, amplification or over-expression of c-MET has been reported, as well as up-regulated levels of HGF. Cross-talk between c-MET and other tyrosine kinase receptors is well-documented, with c-MET serving to amplify signaling of the EGFR pathway and to activate HER3. Up-regulation of c-MET signaling is also found in patients who develop resistance to agents targeting EGFR and VEGFR, mainly through amplification or activating mutation.  Preclinical evidence is strong that the HGF/c-MET pathway contributes to many oncogenic processes, and a number of strategies have been developed to inhibit either the ligand or the receptor. Clinical trial results have been disappointing, however, for a number of solid tumors, and combination regimens with agents targeting the HGF/c-MET pathway have not performed, as well as predicted from laboratory and animal studies, or have proven highly toxic.

One of the current challenges is to identify the population of patients who would derive benefit from c-MET pathway interruption. Higher benefit could also justify the risks involved with combination therapies. Recent data suggest that patients with amplification or mutation of c-MET (such as exon 14-skipping mutations), either pre-existing or acquired after failure of another targeted therapy, show the highest dependence on HGF/c-MET signaling. Evidence also suggests that high expression level of c-MET protein confers dependence, but a standardized test of c-MET expression, or another biomarker that would provide guidance for patient selection, is still lacking. This Special Issue will highlight the current state of knowledge about HGF and c-MET in multiple cancers, including results of past clinical trials, agents still in clinical development, and status of biomarkers of sensitivity to these agents.

Prof. Dr. Jill M. Siegfried
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • HGF
  • c-Met
  • receptor cross-talk
  • EGFR
  • HER3
  • microenvironment
  • invasion & metastasis
  • angiogenesis
  • lung cancer
  • gastric cancer
  • colorectal cancer

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Review

Open AccessReview The Therapeutic Targeting of HGF/c-Met Signaling in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Alternative Approaches
Cancers 2017, 9(6), 58; doi:10.3390/cancers9060058
Received: 3 March 2017 / Revised: 23 April 2017 / Accepted: 24 May 2017 / Published: 26 May 2017
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Abstract
The poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most devastating cancers worldwide, is due to frequent recurrence and metastasis. Among the metastatic factors in the tumor microenvironment, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has been well known to play critical roles in tumor
[...] Read more.
The poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most devastating cancers worldwide, is due to frequent recurrence and metastasis. Among the metastatic factors in the tumor microenvironment, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has been well known to play critical roles in tumor progression, including HCC. Therefore, c-Met is now regarded as the most promising therapeutic target for the treatment of HCC. However, there are still concerns about resistance and the side effects of using conventional inhibitors of c-Met, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Recently, many alternative strategies of c-Met targeting have been emerging. These include targeting the downstream effectors of c-Met, such as hydrogen peroxide-inducible clone 5 (Hic-5), to block the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated signaling for HCC progression. Also, inhibition of endosomal regulators, such as PKCε and GGA3, may perturb the c-Met endosomal signaling for HCC cell migration. On the other hand, many herbal antagonists of c-Met-dependent signaling, such as saponin, resveratrol, and LZ-8, were identified. Taken together, it can be anticipated that more effective and safer c-Met targeting strategies for preventing HCC progression can be established in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatocyte Growth Factor Pathway in Cancer)
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Open AccessReview HGF/Met Signaling in Cancer Invasion: The Impact on Cytoskeleton Remodeling
Cancers 2017, 9(5), 44; doi:10.3390/cancers9050044
Received: 15 March 2017 / Revised: 25 April 2017 / Accepted: 2 May 2017 / Published: 5 May 2017
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Abstract
The invasion of cancer cells into surrounding tissue and the vasculature is essential for tumor metastasis. Increasing evidence indicates that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induces cancer cell migration and invasion. A broad spectrum of mechanisms underlies cancer cell migration and invasion. Cytoskeletal reorganization
[...] Read more.
The invasion of cancer cells into surrounding tissue and the vasculature is essential for tumor metastasis. Increasing evidence indicates that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induces cancer cell migration and invasion. A broad spectrum of mechanisms underlies cancer cell migration and invasion. Cytoskeletal reorganization is of central importance in the development of the phenotype of cancer cells with invasive behavior. Through their roles in cell mechanics, intracellular trafficking, and signaling, cytoskeleton proteins participate in all essential events leading to cell migration. HGF has been involved in cytoskeleton assembly and reorganization, and its role in regulating cytoskeleton dynamics is still expanding. This review summarizes our current understanding of the role of HGF in regulating cytoskeleton remodeling, distribution, and interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatocyte Growth Factor Pathway in Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Hepatocyte Growth Factor/c-Met Signaling in Head and Neck Cancer and Implications for Treatment
Cancers 2017, 9(4), 39; doi:10.3390/cancers9040039
Received: 6 March 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 April 2017 / Published: 24 April 2017
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Abstract
Aberrant signaling of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-Met pathway has been identified as a promoter of tumorigenesis in several tumor types including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Despite a relatively low c-Met mutation frequency, overexpression of HGF and its receptor c-Met
[...] Read more.
Aberrant signaling of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-Met pathway has been identified as a promoter of tumorigenesis in several tumor types including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Despite a relatively low c-Met mutation frequency, overexpression of HGF and its receptor c-Met has been observed in more than 80% of HNSCC tumors, with preclinical and clinical studies linking overexpression with cellular proliferation, invasion, migration, and poor prognosis. c-Met is activated by HGF through a paracrine mechanism to promote cellular morphogenesis enabling cells to acquire mesenchymal phenotypes in part through the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, contributing to metastasis. The HGF/c-Met pathway may also act as a resistance mechanism against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibition in advanced HNSCC. Furthermore, with the identification of a biologically distinct subset of HNSCC tumors acquired from human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that generally portends a good prognosis, high expression of HGF or c-Met in HPV-negative tumors has been associated with worse prognosis. Dysregulated HGF/c-Met signaling results in an aggressive HNSCC phenotype which has led to clinical investigations for targeted inhibition of this pathway. In this review, HGF/c-Met signaling, pathway alterations, associations with clinical outcomes, and preclinical and clinical therapeutic strategies for targeting HGF/c-Met signaling in HNSCC are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatocyte Growth Factor Pathway in Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Hepatocyte Growth Factor, a Key Tumor-Promoting Factor in the Tumor Microenvironment
Cancers 2017, 9(4), 35; doi:10.3390/cancers9040035
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 5 April 2017 / Accepted: 13 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
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Abstract
The tumor microenvironment plays a key role in tumor development and progression. Stromal cells secrete growth factors, cytokines and extracellular matrix proteins which promote growth, survival and metastatic spread of cancer cells. Fibroblasts are the predominant constituent of the tumor stroma and Hepatocyte
[...] Read more.
The tumor microenvironment plays a key role in tumor development and progression. Stromal cells secrete growth factors, cytokines and extracellular matrix proteins which promote growth, survival and metastatic spread of cancer cells. Fibroblasts are the predominant constituent of the tumor stroma and Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), the specific ligand for the tyrosine kinase receptor c-MET, is a major component of their secretome. Indeed, cancer-associated fibroblasts have been shown to promote growth, survival and migration of cancer cells in an HGF-dependent manner. Fibroblasts also confer resistance to anti-cancer therapy through HGF-induced epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) and activation of pro-survival signaling pathways such as ERK and AKT in tumor cells. Constitutive HGF/MET signaling in cancer cells is associated with increased tumor aggressiveness and predicts poor outcome in cancer patients. Due to its role in tumor progression and therapeutic resistance, both HGF and MET have emerged as valid therapeutic targets. Several inhibitors of MET and HGF are currently being tested in clinical trials. Preclinical data provide a strong indication that inhibitors of HGF/MET signaling overcome both primary and acquired resistance to EGFR, HER2, and BRAF targeting agents. These findings support the notion that co-targeting of cancer cells and stromal cells is required to prevent therapeutic resistance and to increase the overall survival rate of cancer patients. HGF dependence has emerged as a hallmark of therapeutic resistance, suggesting that inhibitors of biological activity of HGF should be included into therapeutic regimens of cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatocyte Growth Factor Pathway in Cancer)
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