Malignant mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer that occurs most commonly in the pleural space and is incurable. Increasing evidence suggests that aberrant receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)-directed signalling plays a key role in the pathogenesis of this cancer. In the majority of mesotheliomas, up-regulated expression or signalling by Met, the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) can be demonstrated. Following binding of ligand, Met relays signals that promote cell survival, proliferation, movement, invasiveness, branching morphogenesis and angiogenesis. Here we describe the HGF/Met axis and review the mechanisms that lead to the aberrant activation of this signalling system in mesothelioma. We also describe the cross-talk that occurs between HGF/Met and a number of other receptors, ligands and co-receptor systems. The prevalent occurrence of HGF/Met dysregulation in patients with mesothelioma sets the scene for the investigation of pharmaceutical inhibitors of this axis. In light of the inter-relationship between HGF/Met and other ligand receptor, combinatorial targeting strategies may provide opportunities for therapeutic advancement in this challenging tumour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • Hepatocyte growth factor
  • Malignant mesothelioma
  • Met
  • Receptor tyrosine kinase
  • Scatter factor


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