MET, the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor, has been identified as a novel promising target in various human malignancies, including lung cancer. Research studies have demonstrated that MET signaling plays important physiologic roles in embryogenesis and early development, whereas its deregulation from an otherwise quiescent signaling state in mature adult tissues can lead to upregulated cell proliferation, survival, scattering, motility and migration, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. The MET pathway can be activated through ligand (hepatocyte growth factor, HGF) or MET receptor overexpression, genomic amplification, MET mutations, and alternative splicing. A number of novel therapeutic agents that target the MET/hepatocyte growth factor pathway have been tested in early-phase clinical studies with promising results. Phase III studies of MET targeting agents have recently been initiated. This paper will review the MET signaling pathway and biology in lung cancer, and the recent clinical development and advances of MET/hepatocyte growth factor targeting agents. Emphasis will be placed on discussing various unanswered issues and key strategies needed to optimize further clinical development of MET targeting personalized lung cancer therapy.
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