HGF/MET-directed therapeutics in gastroesophageal cancer: a review of clinical and biomarker development

Stephen P. Hack _, Jean-Marie Bruey and Hartmut Koeppen

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:2866-2880. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2003

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Stephen P. Hack1, Jean-Marie Bruey2 & Hartmut Koeppen3

1 Product Development, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA, USA

2 Oncology Biomarker Development, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA, USA

3 Research Pathology, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA, USA


Stephen Hack, email:

Keywords: MET, HGF, gastroesophageal cancer, companion diagnostic, immunohistochemistry, gene amplification

Received: April 21, 2014 Accepted: May 23, 2014 Published: May 24, 2014


Aberrant activation of the HGF/MET signaling axis has been strongly implicated in the malignant transformation and progression of gastroesophageal cancer (GEC). MET receptor overexpression in tumor samples from GEC patients has been consistently correlated with an aggressive metastatic phenotype and poor prognosis. In preclinical GEC models, abrogation of HGF/MET signaling has been shown to induce tumor regression as well as inhibition of metastatic dissemination. Promising clinical results in patient subsets in which MET is overexpressed have spurned several randomized studies of HGF/MET-directed agents, including two pivotal global Phase III trials. Available data highlight the need for predictive biomarkers in order to select patients most likely to benefit from HGF/MET inhibition. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge of mechanisms of MET activation in GEC, the current status of the clinical evaluation of MET-targeted therapies in GEC, characteristics of ongoing randomized GEC trials and the associated efforts to identify and validate biomarkers. We also discuss the considerations and challenges for HGF/MET inhibitor drug development in the GEC setting.

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