Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFRs) and Non-Canonical Partners in Cancer Signaling

Harriet Ferguson, Michael Smith, Chiara Francavilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing evidence indicates that success of targeted therapies in the treatment of cancer is context-dependent and is influenced by a complex crosstalk between signaling pathways and between cell types in the tumour. The Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF)/FGF receptor (FGFR) signaling axis highlights the importance of such context-dependence signaling in cancer. Aberrant FGFR signaling has been characterized in almost all cancer types, most commonly Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), breast cancer, glioblastoma, prostate cancer and gastrointestinal cancer. This occurs primarily through amplification and over-expression of FGFR1 and FGFR2 resulting in ligand-independent activation. Mutations and translocations of FGFR1-4 are also identified in cancer. Canonical FGF-FGFR signaling is tightly regulated by ligand-receptor combinations as well as direct interactions with the FGFR co-receptors heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) and Klotho. Non-canonical FGFR signaling partners have been implicated in differential regulation of FGFR signaling. FGFR directly interacts with cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, contributing to invasive and migratory properties of cancer cells, whereas interactions with other Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) regulate angiogenic, resistance to therapy, and meta-static potential of cancer cells. The diversity in FGFR signaling partners supports a role for FGFR signaling in cancer, independent of genetic aberration.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 May 2021


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