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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2013 Oct;24(5):467-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2013.05.002. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Small molecule inhibition of fibroblast growth factor receptors in cancer.

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School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou 325035, China. Electronic address:


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) signal through FGF receptors (FGFRs), which are a sub-family of the superfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases, to regulate human development and metabolism. Uncontrolled FGF signaling is responsible for diverse array of developmental disorders, most notably skeletal syndromes due to FGFR gain-of-function mutations. Studies in the last few years have provided significant evidence for the importance of FGF signaling in the pathogenesis of diverse cancers, including endometrial and bladder cancers. FGFs are both potent mitogenic and angiogenic factors and can contribute to carcinogenesis by stimulating cell proliferation and tumor angiogenesis. Gene knockout and pharmacological inhibition of FGFRs in in vivo and in vitro models validate FGFRs as a target for cancer treatment. Considerable efforts are being expended to develop specific, small-molecule inhibitors for treating FGFR-driven cancers. Recent reviews on the FGF/FGFR system have focused primarily on signaling, pathophysiology, and functions in cancer. In this article, we review the key roles of FGFR in cancer, provide an update on the status of clinical trials with small-molecule FGFR inhibitors, and discuss how the current structural data on FGFR kinases guide the design and characterization of new FGFR inhibitors.


Cancer; Cancer chemotherapy; Fibroblast growth factor receptor; Small-molecule inhibitor; Structure–activity relationship

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