Clinical complexity of utilizing FGFR inhibitors in cancer therapeutics

Sreenivasa R. Chandana, Hani M. Babiker, Daruka Mahadevan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR 1–4) are a highly conserved family of receptor tyrosine kinases, involved in several physiological processes. Genetic aberrations of FGFRs and their ligands, fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are involved in several pathological processes including cancer. The FGF-FGFR axis has emerged as a treatment target in oncology. Because these aberrations drive cancer progression, the development of FGFR targeted therapies have been accelerated. Areas covered: In this comprehensive review, we evaluate molecular pathology and targeted therapies to FGFRs. We reviewed the evidence for safety and efficacy from preclinical and clinical studies (phase I–III) of FGFR targeted therapies. We also discuss potential challenges in bringing these targeted therapies from bench to bedside and the potential opportunities. Expert opinion: Despite the challenges of the clinical development of FGFR targeted therapies, two FGFR small-molecule inhibitors, namely Erdafitinib and Pemigatinib, are FDA approved for urothelial cancer and cholangiocarcinoma, respectively. Understanding and detection of FGFR genomic aberrations, protein overexpression and the development of isoform-specific inhibitors are factors in the clinical success of these therapies. An enhanced understanding of patient selection based on a gene signatures or biomarkers is key to success of FGFR targeted therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1429
Number of pages17
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • aptamers
  • clinical trials
  • drug resistance
  • fgfr inhibitors
  • fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibitors
  • fibroblast growth factor receptors
  • genetic aberrations
  • monoclonal antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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