Tyrosine kinase receptors mediate many critical cellular functions that contribute to tumor progression and metastasis and thus are potential targets for molecular-based cancer therapy. As has been found for many receptor tyrosine kinases, RON (recepteur d'origine nantais) and its ligand, macrophage- stimulating protein, have recently been implicated in the progression and metastasis of tumors. In in vitro experiments using colon and breast cancer cell lines, overexpression of RON led to increased invasion and migration of cancer cells and prevented apoptosis and anoikis. In addition, transgenic mice engineered to overexpress RON in the lung epithelium developed multiple pulmonary tumors, suggesting a role for RON in tumorigenesis. In human cancer specimens, increased RON expression has been demonstrated in colon, breast, ovarian, and lung tumors. Therefore, therapies designed to inhibit RON activation may hinder critical tumor survival mechanisms and play a role in the treatment of advanced disease.
- Macrophage-stimulating protein
- Tyrosine kinase receptor
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