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Cancer Res. 1995 Mar 1;55(5):1129-38.

Expression of the Met/hepatocyte growth factor receptor in human pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1Imperial Cancer Research Fund Oncology Unit, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


The c-MET oncogene encodes the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) scatter factor, a multifunctional cytokine able to mediate morphogenesis as well as invasive growth of epithelial cells. The c-MET-encoded receptor is detectable only at low levels in the normal human exocrine pancreas, but it is up-regulated in the majority of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas. The c-MET-encoded HGF receptor is also overexpressed in a proportion of the panel of 31 human pancreatic cancer cell lines examined, which have a range of different growth properties and degrees of differentiation. In most cases the HGF receptor found in the malignant cells has features of the normal receptor. When added to pancreatic cancer cell lines, HGF triggers receptor phosphorylation and stimulates cells to move and proliferate. In overexpressing cell lines, the Met/HGF receptor is phosphorylated in the absence of endogenously produced or exogenously added ligand. These data suggest that the Met/HGF receptor may be involved in the growth and behavior of pancreatic cancer and may contribute to the ductal phenotype of these tumors.

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