The MET Oncogene

MET, also called tyrosine-protein kinase or hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the MET gene.

Normally, only stem and progenitor cells express MET, which allows these cells to grow and to migrate in the body, in order to generate new tissues in the embryo or to regenerate damaged tissues in the adult.

Cancer stem cells have been found to hijack the ability of normal stem cells to express MET; the gene becomes the cause of cancer onset, invasion and metastasis.

The movie shows the ‘scatter effect’, induced by activation of the MET receptors in vitro.

Aberrant activation of MET triggers tumor growth, formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) that supply the tumor with nutrients, and cancer spread to various organs (metastasis). Abnormal MET activation correlates with poor prognosis in cancer patients.

The involvement of the MET gene has been widely observed in various malignancies, including stomach, lung, kidney, liver, breast and brain carcinomas.

A broad spectrum of academic research demonstrated that anti-MET drugs, in the right context, are highly effective in inhibiting not only cancer cell proliferation but also invasion and metastatic spread.

(ref: Comoglio et al.,