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Hepatocyte Growth Factor Signaling Pathway as a Potential Target in Ductal Adenocarcinoma of the Pancreas

Hepatocyte growth factor is an important cellular signal pathway. The pathway regulates mitogenesis, morphogenesis, cell migration, invasiveness and survival. Hepatocyte growth factor acts through activation of tyrosine kinase receptor c-Met (mesenchymal epithelial transition factor) as the only known ligand. Despite the fact that hepatocyte growth factor is secreted only by mesenchymal origin cells, the targets of this multifunctional pathway are cells of mesenchymal as well as epithelial origin. Besides its physiological role recent evidences suggest that HGF/c-Met also plays a role in tumor pathophysiology. As a “scatter factor” hepatocyte growth factor stimulates cancer cell migration, invasion and subsequently promote metastases. Hepatocyte growth factor further is involved in desmoplastic reaction and consequently indorse chemo- and radiotherapy resistance. Explicitly, this pathway seems to mediate cancer cell aggressiveness and to correlate with poor prognosis and survival rate. Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma is a carcinoma with high aggressiveness and metastases rate. Latest insights show that the HGF/c-Met signal pathway might play an important role in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma pathophysiology. In the present review, we highlight the role of HGF/c-Met pathway in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with focus on its effect on cellular pathophysiology and discuss its role as a potential therapeutic target in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.


Samra Gafarli, Ming Tian, Felix Rückert

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