Brain Metastases from Lung Cancer: Is MET an Actionable Target?

Giulia M Stella, Alessandra Corino, Giulia Berzero, Stefan Kolling, Andrea R Filippi, Silvia Benvenuti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The process of metastatic dissemination begins when malignant cells start to migrate and leave the primary mass. It is now known that neoplastic progression is associated with a combination of genetic and epigenetic events. Cancer is a genetic disease and this pathogenic concept is the basis for a new classification of tumours, based precisely on the presence of definite genetic lesions to which the clones are addicted. Regarding the scatter factor receptors MET and Recepteur d'Origin Nantais (RON), it is recognised that MET is an oncogene necessary for a narrow subset of tumours (MET-addicted) while it works as an adjuvant metastogene for many others. This notion highlights that the anti-MET therapy can be effective as the first line of intervention in only a few MET-addicted cases, while it is certainly more relevant to block MET in cases of advanced neoplasia that exploit the activation of the invasive growth program to promote dissemination in other body parts. Few data are instead related to the role played by RON, a receptor homologous to MET. We have already demonstrated an implication of MET and RON genes in brain metastases from lung cancer. On this basis, the aim of this work is to recapitulate and dissect the molecular basis of metastatic brain dissemination from lung cancer. The latter is among the big killers and frequently gives rise to brain metastases, most often discovered at diagnosis. Molecular mechanisms leading to tumour spread to the brain are mostly unknown and in turn these tragic cases are still lacking effective therapies. Based on previously published data from our group, we aim to summarise and analyse the pathogenic mechanisms leading to activation of the scatter factor receptor in brain metastatic lesions of lung primaries, from the point of view of replacing the currently used empirical treatment with a more targeted approach.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 26 2019


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