The role of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment of cancers including those of the urinary bladder


Robert Roskoski Jr.



PII: S1043-6618(19)32639-8


Reference: YPHRS 104567



To appear in: Pharmacological Research


Received Date: 20 November 2019

Accepted Date: 20 November 2019




Please cite this article as: Roskoski R, The role of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment of cancers including those of the urinary bladder, Pharmacological Research (2019), doi:



This is a PDF file of an article that has undergone enhancements after acceptance, such as the addition of a cover page and metadata, and formatting for readability, but it is not yet the definitive version of record. This version will undergo additional copyediting, typesetting and review before it is published in its final form, but we are providing this version to give early visibility of the article. Please note that, during the production process, errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.


© 2019 Published by Elsevier.






The role of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the


treatment of cancers including those of the urinary bladder




Robert Roskoski Jr.




Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research 3754 Brevard Road, Suite 116, Box 19, Horse Shoe, North Carolina 28742-8814, United States Phone: 1-828-891-5637 Fax: 1-828-890-8130 E-mail address: [email protected]



Grapical Abstract




















Chemical compounds studied in this article: AZD4547 (PubMED CID: 51039095); Dovitinib (PubMED CID: 135398510); Erdafitinib (PubMED CID: 67462786); Infigratinib (PubMED CID: 53235510); Lucitanib (PubMED CID: 25031915); Nintedanib (PubMED CID: 135423438); Pazopanib (PubMED CID: 10113978); Pemigatinib (PubMED CID; 86705695); Ponatinib (PubMED CID; 24826799); Rogaratinib (PubMED CID: 71611869)



Key words; Catalytic spine; K/E/D/D; Protein kinase inhibitor classification; Protein kinase structure; Regulatory spine; Targeted cancer therapy



Abbreviations: AS, activation segment; CS or C-spine, catalytic spine; CL, catalytic loop; EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor; GK, gatekeeper; KID, kinase insert domain; NSCLC, non- small cell lung cancer; PDGFR, platelet-derived growth factor receptor; PI3K, phosphoinositide

3-kinase; pY or pTyr, phosphotyrosine; RS or R-spine, regulatory spine; Sh2, shell residue 2; VEGFR, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor.



  1. Fibroblast growth factors and their receptors


1.1 Properties of fibroblast growth factors


1.2 Properties of the fibroblast growth factor receptors


1.2.1 Ligand activation of the FGFRs


1.2.2 Structures of the FGFR protein-tyrosine kinases and the K/E/D/D motif


1.2.3 The hydrophobic spines of FGFRs






  1. Selected FGFR genomic alterations in human cancers


2.1 An overview of urinary bladder cancers


2.2 FGFR and FGF gene alterations in urinary bladder cancers


2.3 Selected FGFR genomic alterations in other human cancers


  1. Protein kinase inhibitor classification


  1. Drug-ligand binding pockets


  1. Structure of reversible FGFR-drug complexes


5.1 Erdafitinib


5.2 Ponatinib


5.3 Dovitinib


5.4 AZD4547


5.5 CH5183284/Debio 1347


5.6 Infigratinib


5.7 Lenvatinib


5.8 LY2874455


5.9 Lucitanib


  1. Structures of covalent drug-FGFR complexes and common drug-enzyme interactions


6.1 Futibatinib


6.2 Roblitinib


6.3 H3B-6527


6.4 Shared interactions of drugs with FGFRs


  1. Inhibitors lacking drug-FGFR X-ray crystal structures


  1. Epilogue






Conflict of interest Acknowledgments References ABSTRACT

The human fibroblast growth factor family consists of 22 factors and five transmembrane receptors. Of the 22 factors, eighteen are secreted while four of them function exclusively within the cell. Four of the fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) possess intracellular protein- tyrosine kinase activity while the fifth (FGFRL1) has a short 105-residue intracellular non- enzymatic component. The FGFR protein kinase domain consists of a bi-lobed structure that is similar to that of all other protein kinases. FGFR gene alterations occur in a wide variety of cancers including those of the urinary bladder, breast, ovary, prostate, endometrium, lung, and stomach. The majority (66%) of FGFR gene alterations involve gene amplifications, followed by mutations (26%), and rearrangements that produce fusion proteins (8%). Erdafitinib was the first orally effective FGFR antagonist approved by the FDA (2019) for the treatment of advanced cancer, that of the urinary bladder. FGF23 suppresses phosphate reabsorption in the proximal tubules of the kidney; FGF23 blockade allows phosphate reabsorption to occur and leads to elevated serum phosphate levels. Erdafitinib and several other, but not all, FGFR antagonists produce hyperphosphatemia. Erdafitinib binds to an inactive DGF-Din conformation of FGFR1 and is classified as a type I½ inhibitor. Similarly, dovitinib, AZD4547, CH5183284, infigratinib, lenvatinib, LY2874455, and lucitanib are type I½ inhibitors. The inactive conformations contain an autoinhibitory brake that is made up of three main residues: an asparagine (N) within the αC- β4 back loop, a glutamate (E) corresponding to the second hinge residue, and a lysine (K) in the β8-strand (the NEK triad). PDGFRα/β, Kit, CSF1R, VEGFR1/2/3, Flt3, Tek, and Tie protein






kinases are also regulated by a similar autoinhibitory brake mechanism. Ponatinib binds to FGFR4 in a DFG-Dout conformation and is classified as a type II inhibitor. Futibatinib, roblitinib, H3B-6527, fisogatinib, and PRN1371 bind covalently to their FGFR target and are classified as type VI inhibitors. Nintedanib, pazopanib, pemigatinib, rogaratinib, and PRN1371 are FGFR inhibitors lacking drug-enzyme crystal structures. All of the aforementioned FGFR antagonists are orally effective. The development of FGFR inhibitors has lagged behind those of other receptor protein-tyrosine kinases. However, the FDA approval of erdafitinib for the treatment of urinary bladder cancers may stimulate additional work targeting the many other FGFR-driven neoplasms.

  1. Fibroblast growth factors and their receptors


1.1 Properties of the fibroblast growth factors


The human fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family consists of 22 members [1]. Although these are labeled FGF1–23, factors 15 and 19 represent the same molecule that is called FGF15/19 in this paper; thus, the total number of FGFs is 22. All of the growth factors, with the exception of FGF11/12/13/14, are glycoproteins that are secreted from the cell of origin and they interact with the transmembrane fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs). FGF11/12/13/14 do not interact with the transmembrane FGFRs; of the 22 FGFs, a total of 18 of these function as receptor ligands. The intracellular growth factors (FGF11/12/13/14) serve as cofactors for voltage-gated sodium channels. The growth factors range in size from 155 residues (FGF1) to 288 residues (FGF2) (Table 1). These factors share a core homology domain that consists of about 120 amino acid residues that assume a globular β-trefoil structure that consists of 12 β- strands arranged into three similar sets of four-stranded β-sheets [2]. This core domain is flanked






by divergent amino-terminal and carboxyterminal sequences that account in part for the selectivity and specificity of the growth factors.

The FGFs are divided into six subfamilies. The first subfamily (FGF1) consists of FGF1 and FGF2 [3]. Although these factors lack a traditional signal peptide, they are readily exported from cells by coursing through the plasma membrane. FGF1/2 bind to and activate their cognate FGFRs (Table 1). These factors have the unusual property of being translocated back into the cell through the plasma membrane and traveling through the cytosol into the nucleus. Postulated nuclear functions include regulation of the cell cycle, cell differentiation, cell survival, and apoptosis. The second subfamily (FGF4) consists of FGF4, FGF5, and FGF6. These factors are secreted from the cell with a cleavable N-terminal signal peptide. These secreted factors interact with and activate their cognate FGFRs.

The third subfamily (FGF7) consists of FGF3, FGF7, FGF10, and FGF22 [3]. These factors possess a signal peptide and are secreted from cells. FGF3/10/22 interact with FGFR1/2 while FGF7 interacts with FGFR2/4. The fourth subfamily (FGF8) consists of FGF8, FGF17, FGF18. These factors are secreted from the cell by the classical signal peptide pathway and FGF8/17 interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4 and FGF8 interacts with FGFR2/3/4. The fourth subfamily (FGF9) consists of FGF9, FGF16, and FGF20. These factors are secreted from cells and interact with and activate their corresponding receptors (Table 1). These proteins function as homodimers. The fifth subfamily (FGF15/19) consists of FGF15/19, FGF21, and FGF23. These growth factors are secreted from cells by the classical signal peptide process and they interact with FGFR1/2/3/4. All of the previous FGFs function close to the cell that secreted them in an autocrine or paracrine fashion owing to their high affinity for extracellular heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan chains of heparan sulphate proteoglycans. Moreover, heparan sulfate






participates in the FGF-FGFR interaction through the formation of ternary complexes made up of the three components (FGF-FGFR-heparan). The paracrine FGFs include the FGF1, FGF4, FGF7, and the FGF8 subfamilies while the endocrine FGFs consists of the FGF15/19 subfamily.

In contrast to the subfamilies 1–4, the FGF15/19 family is carried by the circulation to their target cells and receptors and they function as endocrine factors; these factors possess low affinity for heparan sulfate, which allows them to diffuse from the site of origin into the circulation and travel to their targets [3]. These endocrine factors form a ternary complex with their receptors and their α-Klotho or β-Klotho coreceptors (FGF-FGFR-Klotho). α-Klotho and β- Klotho are single pass transmembrane proteins consisting of about one thousand amino acid residues with short cytoplasmic domains: α-Klotho with 10 intracellular residues and β-Klotho with 27 intracellular residues. FGF15/19 and FGF21 signaling involves β-Klotho. FGF15/19 can activate FGFR1-IIIc, FGFR2-IIIc, FGFR3-IIIc, and FGFR4. FGF21 activates FGFR1-IIIc and FGFR3-IIIc (where the IIIb and IIIc isoforms result from alternative spicing as described in the next section). FGF23 involves α-Klotho and FGFR1-IIIc, FGFR3-IIIc, and FGFR4.

The sixth FGF subfamily (FGF11) consists of FGF11, FGF12, FGF13, and FGF14 [3]. These factors are not secreted and occur within the cytosol and nucleus [3]. This subfamily interacts with the cytosolic carboxyterminal tail of voltage-gated sodium channels. These polypeptides may regulate the localization of sodium channels at the axon terminus during development and the ion-gating properties of the channels in mature neurons. It is possible that these factors are involved in ion-gating properties of excitable cells including cardiomyocytes.

1.2 Properties of the fibroblast growth factor receptors


1.2.1 Ligand activation of the FGFRs






The FGFRs consist of an extracellular segment containing three immunoglobulin-like domains (D1/2/3), a single-pass transmembrane segment, and an intracellular protein-tyrosine kinase domain (Fig. 1). An acid box consisting of a short stretch of aspartates and glutamates occurs between D1 and D2. FGFs bind to the region of the ectodomain encompassing D2, D3, and the D2-D3 linker (Fig. 2). Ligand-binding specificity of FGFR1/2/3 is regulated in part by alternative splicing in the D3 domain of these receptors (Fig. 1). The N-terminal portion of D3 is encoded by exon IIIa (also known as exon 7) and the C-terminal portion of D3 is encoded by one of two mutually exclusive exons (exon IIIb or exon IIIc, also known as exon 8 or exon 9) where III refers to D3. Structural studies demonstrate that alternative splicing changes the sequence of key ligand-pocket residues or ligand-binding residues to confer FGF binding specificity. This alternative splicing is largely cell and tissue specific [2]. FGFR4 mRNA does not undergo alternative splicing of the encoded D3 domains.

The binding of the FGFs to their receptors induces receptor dimerization, transphosphorylation, and activation of the protein kinase domain [4]. Six tyrosine residues of FGFR1 are sequentially phosphorylated to produce the fully activated enzyme [5]. In the first phase following ligand binding, Y653 within the activation segment is phosphorylated resulting in a 50-100–fold increase in activity. In the second phase, Y583 in the kinase insert domain (KID), Y463 in the juxtamembrane segment, Y766 at the end of the protein kinase domain, and Y585 in the αD-αE loop are phosphorylated. In the third phase, Y654 within the activation segment is phosphorylated resulting in a further 10-fold activation (overall 500-1000–fold activation). The equivalent tyrosine residues of FGFR2 are phosphorylated; whether the order of phosphorylation and activation parallels that described for FGFR1 is unclear. FGFR3 contains only four phosphotyrosines including two adjacent residues within the activation segment and






FGFR4 contains only three phosphotyrosines including two adjacent residues within the activation segment. Clearly the phosphorylation pattern of FGFR3/4 must differ from that of FGFR1.

Downstream signaling by the FGFRs resembles that of most other receptor protein- tyrosine kinases including its close relatives consisting of Kit, PDGFRα/β, VEGFR1/2/3, EGFR/ErbB1/2/3/4, and RET. All four FGFRs result in the activation of the Ras-Map kinase signaling module that participates in cell division and the PI3K/Akt module that mediates cell survival [2,6]. They also lead to the activation of phospholipase C and the generation of inositol- trisphosphate and diacylglycerol, which promote cell migration. The four enzymes also promote the activation of the STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) pathway leading to the transcription of numerous genes. The activation of downstream pathways appears to be qualitatively similar for FGFR1 and FGFR2 and differs somewhat from that of FGFR3 and FGFR4. Dissimilarities among the four receptors in downstream signaling can be ascribed to differences in the affinity and specificity for intracellular adaptor proteins, differential subcellular trafficking after receptor activation, and differential rates of receptor endocytosis.

The paracrine family of FGFs binds to their cognate receptors in a process that is aided


by the extracellular heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan chains of heparan sulphate proteoglycans [2,4]. Heparan sulfate consists of a long linear chain of repeating sulfated disaccharides

including glucuronic acid linked to N-acetylglucosamine. These chains are covalently bound to various core proteins such as agrin, glypican, perlecan, and syndecan. Heparan sulfate interacts with FGFs and FGFRs to form a symmetric 2:2:2 FGF-heparan-FGFR complex. FGFR dimerization leads to the transphosphorylation and activation of the receptor. The heparan sulfate links the FGF to the D2 extracellular domain (Fig. 2A).






The endocrine family of FGFs binds to their cognate receptors in a process that is aided by a Klotho co-receptor [6,7]. Chen et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of FGF23, FGFR1, and the extracellular domain of α-Klotho (Fig. 2B) [7]. They reported that α-Klotho serves as a non-enzymatic scaffold that tethers FGF23 and FGFR1-IIIc together. KL1 (34E–F506) and KL2 (515 L–S950) are two domains within α-Klotho that are connected by a 507P–P514 linker (not shown) and the two domains interact with FGF23; most of the interaction involves KL2 via hydrophobic contacts as well as hydrogen bonding. α-Klotho binds within a large hydrophobic groove and a smaller hydrophobic groove both within FGFR1-IIIc. These hydrophobic pockets in FGFR1 differ between the IIIb and IIIc isoforms accounting in part for the binding selectivity of α-Klotho for this subset of FGFRs. These investigators found that heparan sulfate was a required ancillary cofactor that was needed to promote the formation functional 2:2:2:2 FGF23:FGFR1-IIIc:Klotho:heparan sulfated complexes. This was a surprising finding because both FGF23 and FGFR1-IIIc have limited binding affinity for heparan sulfate.

1.2.2 Structures of the FGFR protein-tyrosine kinases and the K/E/D/D motif


Receptor protein-tyrosine kinases consist of 58 distinct members that have been divided into 20 subfamilies [4,8]. As previously described, the FGFR subfamily consists of four protein kinases (FGFR1/2/3/4) plus a non-protein kinase (FGFRL1). Each of the protein-tyrosine kinases catalyze the following reaction:

MgATP–1 + protein–tyrosine-O : H  protein–-tyrosine-O : PO32– + MgADP + H+


Note that the phosphorylium group (PO32–) and not the phosphate group (OPO33–) is transferred in this reaction. The FGFRs are closely related to PDGFRα/β, Kit, CSF1R, and VEGFR1/2/3. The protein kinase domain of each of these receptors contains an insert of several amino acids; the kinase insert domain (KID) consists of nearly 100 residues in the PDGFR family, about 60






residues in Kit, CSF1R and the VEGFR family, and about 15 amino acid residues in the FGFR family [9]. Phosphorylation of two tyrosine residues within the KIDs of FGFR1 and FGFR2 has been reported, but no tyrosine phosphorylation of the KIDs of FGFR3 or FGFR4 has been found.

The secondary and tertiary structures of all protein kinases are similar as first described by Knighten et al. for protein kinase A [10,11]. Protein kinases contain a small N-terminal lobe and a large C-terminal lobe (Fig. 3A). The small N-terminal lobe contains five β-strands and the large C-terminal lobe is mostly helical; it contains eight helices (αD–αI and αEF1/2) along with four short β-strands (β6–β9). The small lobe contains an important regulatory αC-helix. This lobe also contains a glycine-rich loop (GRL) with a six amino acid-signature sequence (GxGxΦG) where Φ represents a hydrophobic residue; in the case of FGFRs, Φ is phenylalanine (Table 2). The glycine-rich loop connects the β1 and β2-strands (Fig 3E) and sits above the adenine binding site (not shown). The β3-strand of protein kinases contains an AxK signature sequence, which is AVK in the FGFR family. In the active enzyme conformation (and many inactive conformations), this invariant lysine forms a salt bridge with an invariant glutamate within the αC-helix; this corresponds to β3-K514 and αC-E531 in FGFR1 (Fig. 3C). The salt- bridge conformation is described as the αCin structure. Enzyme conformations lacking this salt bridge are described as αCout or αCdilated structures; see Refs. [12,13] for details. The β3-lysine (K) and the αC-glutamate (E) make up the K and E of the K/E/D/D signature.

The hinge region and linker (which we combine and call the hinge) are made up of about seven amino acid residues that connect the small and large lobes (Fig. 3C, Table 2). The gatekeeper residue occurs immediately before the hinge residues in the β5-strand. The term gatekeeper refers to the role that such residues play in regulating access to a hydrophobic pocket next to the adenine binding site [14,15] that is occupied by fragments of numerous small






molecule protein kinase inhibitors. Small residues such as alanine, glycine, serine, cysteine, threonine, and valine enable antagonists to extend into the hydrophobic pocket while medium- sized residues including leucine, isoleucine, glutamine, and methionine are more obstructive [16]. Large residues such as tyrosine and phenylalanine are the most obstructive and preclude extension of antagonists or drugs into the hydrophobic back pocket. The small kinase insert domain of the FGFRs occupies the αD–αE loop (Fig. 3A). The KID of FGFR1/2 contains two tyrosine residues that are phosphorylated and these may participate in the mitogenic response via the phospholipase Cγ and Ras signaling modules [9]. The KID of FGFR3 contains a single tyrosine residue, but it has not been shown to be phosphorylated. The KID of FGFR4 lacks any tyrosine residues, but it contains a serine (S573) that is phosphorylated, presumably by a protein- serine/threonine kinase. Whatever regulatory role that phosphorylation of this serine plays, if

any, is unclear.


An evolutionarily conserved protein kinase catalytic loop, which consists of HRD(x)4N, occurs after the αE helix and before the β7-strand (Fig. 3A). The catalytic loop aspartate of all protein kinases including the FGFR family serves as a base that abstracts a proton from the tyrosyl –OH group. This aspartate represents the first D of the K/E/D/D motif. Mechanistic studies by Zhou and Adams suggested that this protein kinase catalytic aspartate promotes the in- line nucleophilic attack of the hydroxyl group of the protein substrate [17]. The activation segment of protein kinases represents an important structural and regulatory protein kinase component. This segment begins with a DGF sequence and usually, but not always, ends with an APE sequence. The D of DFG represents the second D of the K/E/D/D motif. Two magnesium ions (Mg2+) are involved in the transphosphorylation reaction of nearly all protein kinases






[18,19]. The DFG-D binds Mg2+(1) and the N of HRD(x)4N binds Mg2+(2). The inferred mechanism of the FGFR2 catalyzed reaction is depicted in Fig. 4.

The activation segment of protein kinases exhibits an active conformation with the DFG- D-Mg2+(1) pointing inward toward the active site (DFG-Din) and with an open conformation that extends rightward in the classical protein kinase view (Fig. 1A). One common dormant activation segment conformation also has DFG-Din, but with a closed activation segment conformation that does not extend as far rightward (Fig. 1C). Still a second inactive conformation has the DFG-D directed away from the active site (DFG-Dout) as illustrated in Fig. 3E. In the case of FGFR1, the phosphate of the second phosphotyrosine (pY654) forms salt bridges with the guanidinium group of R646 – which is eight residues upstream in the activation segment – and with the hydroxyl group of T657, which is three residues downstream within the activation segment (Fig. 5). The carbonyl group of pY654 forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of Y677, which is proximal to the αF-helix. pY653 is exposed to the solvent and does not play a role in stabilizing the activation segment in its active conformation. Y653, Y654, T657, and R646 of the dormant enzyme are displaced relative to the corresponding residues of the active enzyme. In contrast, Y677 of the dormant enzyme and Y677 of the active enzyme, which are outside of the activation segments, are nearly superimposable.

Chen et al. first described the regulation of FGFR2 by an autoinhibitory molecular brake [20]. FGFR1/3/4, PDGFRα/β, VEGFR1/2/3, Kit, CSF1R, Flt3, Tek, and Tie protein kinases are also regulated by a similar autoinhibitory mechanism. This process involves three main residues: a lysine (K) in the β8-strand, a glutamate (E) corresponding to the second hinge residue, and an asparagine (N) within the αC-β4 back loop, together making a KEN triad. The hydrogen bonding pattern for these three residues in FGFR1 is illustrated in Fig. 6A. A hydrogen bond forms






between the side chain of K638 and the carboxylate side chain of E562 and another occurs between the carboxylate side chain of E562 and the backbone N–H group of N546. The N–H group of E562 hydrogen bonds with the carbonyl group of N546. Moreover, two polar bonds link the carboxylate side chain of E562 with the amide side chain of N546. The carboxylate side chain of E562 also hydrogen bonds with the backbone N–H group of N546. Additionally, the ε- amino group of K638 and the amide side chain of N546 also form polar bonds with the carbonyl oxygen of I544 within the αC-β4 back loop. The amide and carbonyl groups of N546 also

hydrogen bond with H541 within the back loop (Fig. 6A). Of the ten polar bonds observed in the autoinhibitory brake, only three are conserved in the active enzyme with a disengaged brake (Fig 6B). The superposition of the active and inactive enzyme forms indicates that the carboxylate side chain of E562 exhibits the greatest displacement (Fig. 6C). The hydrogen bonds between N546 and the backbone atoms of H541 are critical components of the molecular brake.

1.2.3 The hydrophobic spines of FGFRs


Kornev et al. examined the arrangement of the active and inactive structures of about 20 protein kinases [21,22]. They classified four hydrophobic residues together as a regulatory or R- spine and eight hydrophobic residues together as a catalytic or C-spine (Fig. 3B/D/F). The spines extend from the N-terminal lobe into the C-terminal lobe. The R-spine contains one residue from the αC-helix and another from the activation segment, both components of which are key protein kinase regulatory elements. The R-spine anchors the catalytic residues in an active conformation and stabilizes the interaction of the regulatory αC-helix, the catalytic loop, and the activation segment while the C-spine binds ATP thus enabling catalysis. The adenine moiety of ATP is one of the components of the C-spine (Fig. 3B). Moreover, Kornev et al. [22] concluded that the accurate alignment of both spines is required for the formation of an active enzyme as described






for the MEK1/2 dual specificity protein kinases [23,24], the ERK1/2 protein-serine/threonine protein kinases [25,26], the ALK receptor protein-tyrosine kinase [27,28], the EGFR family of receptor protein-tyrosine kinases [29,30], the cyclin-dependent protein-serine/threonine kinases [31,32], the Janus non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinases [33], the Kit receptor protein-tyrosine kinase [34], the Raf protein-serine/threonine protein kinases [35], the RET receptor protein- tyrosine kinase [36], the ROS1 orphan receptor protein-tyrosine kinase [37], the BTK non- receptor protein tyrosine kinase [38], the VEGFR family of receptor protein-tyrosine kinases [39], and the Src non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinase [40].

The R-spine contains (i) the first amino acid of the small lobe β4-strand, (ii) the residue that is four residues distal to the conserved αC-E residue, (iii) the phenylalanine of the DFG signature, and (iv) the histidine from the HRD signature [21]. The amide N–H group of the HRD-histidine forms a hydrogen bond with (v) the invariant aspartate carboxylate group that

occurs within the αF-helix. The R-spine residues are labeled RS4, RS3, RS2, RS1, and RS0 from the top to the bottom. The R-spine of the active enzyme form is linear while the spine of the inactive DFG-Dout enzyme form is broken and displaced laterally (Fig. 3B and 3F)

Two residues of the N-terminal lobe of protein kinases interact with the adenine base of ATP; these include a conserved alanine from the AVK of the β3-strand (CS8) and a conserved valine near the beginning of the β2-strand (CS7). Furthermore, a β7-strand hydrophobic residue (CS6) from the C-terminal lobe interacts with the adenine base (Fig. 3A). The CS6 residue is next to CS5 and these residues make hydrophobic contact with the CS3 and CS4 (Fig. 3B); CS4/5/6 occur within the β7-strand and CS3 occurs near the origin of the αD-helix. CS4/5/6 can be readily identified from the primary structure because they occur immediately after the HRD(x)4N-asparagine residue of the catalytic loop. Lastly, the CS3 and CS4 residues interact






hydrophobically with CS1 and CS2 within the αF-helix thereby completing the C-spine [22]. Note that both the C-spine and R-spines are anchored by the hydrophobic αF-helix (Fig. 3D). Importantly, each spine plays an essential role in maintaining the protein kinase catalytic residues in a functional state. The most significant differences in the structures of active and inactive protein kinase spine residues usually involve the disposition of RS2 and RS3.

Meharena et al. found three protein kinase A catalytic subunit residues that strengthen the regulatory spine, which they designated as shell residues (Sh1, Sh2, and Sh3) [41]. The Sh2 residue corresponds to the gatekeeper. The amino acids that make up the C- and R-spines were identified by their location in (i) functional or in (ii) inactive protein kinases based upon their X- ray crystallographic three-dimensional structures [21,22]. This contrasts with the identification of the HRD or DFG motifs, which was based upon the conserved protein kinase primary structures [8]. The C-spine, R-spine, and shell residues of human FGFRs are listed in Table 3. Nearly all ATP-competitive protein kinase antagonists interact with CS6/7/8 of the C-spine and Sh1/2 of

the shell [43].


  1. Selected FGFR and FGF genomic aberrations in human cancers


2.1 An overview of urinary bladder cancers


This review focuses mainly, but not entirely, on the role of the FGFRs and FGFs in the pathogenesis of urinary bladder cancers and the treatment of these advanced or unresectable tumors by small molecule protein kinase inhibitors. The median age for the diagnosis of bladder cancer in the United States is 72 years [44]. Of the projected 80,500 cases expected in 2019, 61,500 will be diagnosed in men and 19,000 will be diagnosed in women. It is estimated that there are about 830,000 urinary bladder cancer survivors in the United States. The majority of bladder cancer survivors are men (75%), reflecting the three-fold higher incidence of this






neoplasm in males. There is considerable variation in the incidence of bladder cancer in different countries. The most common risk factor in the production of bladder cancer is cigarette smoking; the long-term effect of smoking results in the production of bladder cancer 20–40 years later. Some of the differences in the incidence of bladder cancer and its variation from decade-to- decade follow changes in the previous smoking habits of the population.

More than 70% of patients with this cancer are diagnosed with non-muscle–invasive disease (stage 0-I). For such cancers, the bladder tumor is resected transurethrally; this may be followed by intravesicular therapy with the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccine or intravesicular chemotherapy [45]. Although the BCG vaccine is used primarily against tuberculosis, it decreases the recurrence and slows the progression of bladder cancers; the therapeutic mechanism of this bladder cancer treatment is unclear. Mitomycin or doxorubicin (in the United States) as well as epirubicin or pirarubicin (in Europe) are intravesicular treatments that decrease recurrence. Nearly 91% of the patients with stage I bladder cancer and about two- thirds of those with stage II disease are treated by the transurethral resection of the tumor. In contrast, about two-thirds of the patients with stage III bladder cancer receive cystectomy; this may also be followed with by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both.

For bladder cancers that are unresectable or that have metastasized, cisplatin-based chemotherapy is usually the first treatment option [45]. This includes the combination of (i) methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and cisplatin (M-VAC), (ii) cisplatin, methotrexate and vinblastine (CMV), or (iii) gemcitabine, cisplatin, and paclitaxel (GCP). Five immune checkpoint inhibitors have been FDA-approved for the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer [45,46]. These include nivolumab and pembrolizumab that target PD-1 and atezolizumab, avelumab, and durvalumab that target PD-L1. PD-1 refers to the transmembrane programmed






cell death protein-1 (also known as CD279) and PD-L1 (CD274) refers to its ligand. Erdafitinib is a FGFR inhibitor that has been approved for the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer [47].

2.2 FGFR and FGF gene alterations in urinary bladder cancer


Several FGFR1/2/3/4 gene alterations have been described in bladder cancers (Table 4) [1]. The FGFR1 alterations include FGFR1 amplification and a T141R mutation near the extracellular D2 domain (Table 5) [48]. FGFR gene amplification is generally associated with overexpression of the gene product leading to increased enzyme activity. A translocation resulting in a FGFR1-NTM chimeric fusion protein also occurs [48]. The FGFR gene fusion partner leads to the dimerization of the chimeric protein and its subsequent activation. A FGFR2- TACC3 fusion protein has been observed in bladder cancers. Moreover, FGFR3 gene amplification can also produce bladder cancer. Furthermore, several mutations within the extracellular domain of FGFR3 have been described: S131L, R248C, S249C, G370C, Y373C. The conversion of an extracellular residue to cysteine may promote the formation of an aberrant disulfide bond leading to the formation of an adventitious receptor dimer resulting in transphosphorylation and kinase activation. Two mutations within the intracellular domain have been reported: K650M (activation segment) and G818R (carboxyterminal tail). Moreover, FGFR3 mutations occur in more than one-half of all non-muscle invasive urinary bladder

cancers and in about 10% of the more severe muscle invasive urinary bladder cancers [49]. Four FGFR3 chimeras have been described including FGFR3-TACC3, FGFR3-JAKMIP, FGFR3- TNIP2, and FGFR3-ADD1 (Table 5). The FGFR fusion protein partner generally leads to receptor dimerization and subsequent protein kinase transphosphorylation and activation.

Besides the FGFRs, numerous FGF gene alterations have been described in various cancers (Table 6). The most commonly involved factors among all of the neoplasms are






FGF3/4/19. Again, gene alterations in urothelial bladder cancers are among the most prevalent with FGF3/4/19 being co-amplified in about 12% of cases [1]. Amplification generally results in overproduction of these factors and an increase in FGF signaling. In contrast, gene alterations involving FGF17 and FGF20 in urinary bladder cancers are mostly deletions, which result in decreased growth factor signaling. Thus, the mechanism for the production of urothelial cancers that result from FGF alterations differs among the various factors. In some cases increased action and in other cases decreased activity promote the neoplastic state.

2.3 Selected FGFR and FGF genomic alterations in other human cancers


Helsten et al. analyzed the frequencies of FGFR aberrations in more than 4800 solid tumors using next-generation DNA sequencing [48]. They reported that such aberrations occurred in 7.1% of all of their cancer specimens. The majority (66%) of gene alterations in their study involve gene amplifications, followed by mutations (26%), and finally translocations or gene rearrangements (8%). Their data indicate that the frequency of FGFR1 alterations (mostly amplifications) in the 4800-patient cohort was 3.5%, that of FGFR2 was 1.5%, that of FGFR3 was 2.0%, and that of FGFR4 was 0.5%. Nearly all of the various malignancies that they analyzed exhibited FGFR alterations. The most commonly affected neoplasms include urothelial carcinomas (aberrations in 32% of all urothelial carcinomas), breast cancers (18%), endometrial cancers (13%), squamous cell lung cancers (13%), ovarian cancers (9%), gliomas (8%), cholangiocarcinomas (7%), sarcomas (4%), lung adenocarcinomas (4%) and colorectal, neuroendocrine, pancreatic, and renal cancers (4%–5% each).

Amplification of FGFR1 is a predominant abnormality that leads to the production of several commonly occurring tumors including squamous cell carcinomas of the lung and breast [49]. Gene amplification has also been described in ovarian (FGFR1/2/3) and bladder






carcinomas (FGFR1/3) as well as gliomas (FGFR3) and sarcomas (FGFR1) (Table 5) [49,50]. Such amplifications are generally diagnosed using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH); however, cut-off values for a definition of FGFR amplification are still undetermined. In contrast to gene amplification as a causative agent, EGFR gene mutations lead to the production of many lung cancers [30]. Moreover, BRAFV600E/K mutations, but not BRAF amplification, are

responsible for the production of melanomas [35]. Similarly, Kit mutations occur in a variety of diseases including gastrointestinal stromal tumors, mastocytosis, core-binding factor acute myelogenous leukemia, and seminomas [34]. With the exception of ErbB2/HER2 amplification in breast cancers [30], gene amplification of protein-tyrosine kinase receptors (FGFR1/2/3/4) as the main causative agents of a variety of neoplasms represents an unusual situation.

About 8% of FGFR genetic alterations that produce neoplasms are due to the production of FGFR fusion proteins or chimeras [48]. Various fusion partners include TACC1/2/3, BAIAP2L1, NPM1, AFF3, BICC1, NOL4, and KIAA1579 [48,51–53]. The transforming acidic coiled-coil containing protein gene-3 (TACC3) was first identified as a component of the FGFR3-TACC3 fusion protein in urothelial bladder cancers and in glioblastoma multiforme. This fusion protein, which is the most common of the FGFR chimeras, is constitutively active and it alters chromosomal segregation. Most of the gene alterations that produce cholangiocarcinomas are caused by the formation of FGFR2 fusion protein chimeras [48]. A variety of point mutations of all four receptors have been described [48,51]. These occur in the extracellular domains and the transmembrane segments of FGFR2/3, the activation segments of FGFR1/3, and the asparagine brake residues of FGFR1/2 (Table 5). Approximately 15–20% of patients with multiple myeloma overexpress FGFR3 as a consequence of a t(4;14)(p16.3;q32)






translocation [54,55]. This translocation brings FGFR3 under the influence of a strong immunoglobulin H enhancer thereby leading to FGFR3 overexpression.

A variety of cancers in addition to those of the bladder result from FGF gene alterations (Table 6). Alterations of FGF3/4/19/12/10/23 genes occur frequently in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas and virtually all of these are related to gene amplification. There is also a high incidence of FGF3/4/19/10/12/13/14/17 gene alterations in gastric cancers; FGF3/4/19 are co- amplified in about 7% of these cases. FGF alterations in cervical (FGF10) and ovarian (FGF3/4/19/6/23/12) cystadenocarcinomas are almost all due to gene amplification. Moreover, FGF3/4/19/12/10 gene mutations in squamous cell lung carcinomas and FGF10/17/20 gene mutations in lung adenocarcinomas occur frequently with almost no overlap except for FGF10. There is a high prevalence of FGF3/4/19 gene amplification in melanomas and these three genes are co-amplified in about 7% of cases. Helsten et al. reported that FGF gene anomalies occur in about 14% and FGFR gene alterations occur in about 7% of all malignancies [1]. In summary, there are a large number of FGFR and FGF gene alterations that are involved in the pathogenesis of several commonly occurring cancers.

  1. Protein kinase inhibitor classification

In an initial classification, Dar and Shokat divided small molecule protein kinase inhibitors into groups I, II, and III [56]. Type I antagonists bind within and near the adenine- binding site of a protein kinase in its active DFG-Din conformation. Type II inhibitors, in contrast, bind to the non-functional DFG-Dout protein kinase conformation while type III inhibitors bind to an allosteric site in an active or inactive conformation that does not preclude ATP binding. Expanding on these definitions, type I½ inhibitors are antagonists that bind to a non-functional enzyme with a DFG-Din structure [16]. Such an inactive protein kinase may display a closed activation segment (Fig. 3C), an abnormal glycine-rich loop, a non-linear R-






spine (Fig. 3F), an αCout conformation, an autoinhibitory brake, or various combinations of these structures. Additionally, Gavrin and Saiah subdivided allosteric inhibitors into types III and IV [57]. Their type III inhibitors bind within the cleft between the N-terminal and C-terminal lobes without overlapping the ATP binding pocket. Their type IV inhibitors, in contrast, bind outside of the region between the two lobes. Furthermore, Lamba and Gosh named compounds that span two portions of the protein kinase domain type V, or bivalent, inhibitors [58]. For example, an antagonist that binds to (i) the adenine site of an enzyme such as Src and (ii) its SH2 domain is considered to be a type V inhibitor [59]. We subsequently named type VI inhibitors as those antagonists that form a covalent bond with their target enzyme [60]. Afatinib is an example of a covalent Type VI inhibitor that is used for the treatment of NSCLC bearing an EGFR mutation [43]. This antagonist binds initially as a type I inhibitor to an active EGFR conformation (PDB ID: 4g5j); afterwards the C797 –SH group of the protein attacks the antagonist forming a stable covalent Michael adduct [60].

We previously divided type I½ and type II pharmaceuticals into A and B subtypes [60]. Type A inhibitors such as sorafenib are agents that extend past the gatekeeper into the hydrophobic back cleft. In contrast, type B inhibitors are antagonists that do not extend into this back cleft. The potential significance of this distinction is that type A inhibitors bind to their target enzyme with a longer residence time [61] when compared with type B inhibitors [60]. Sorafenib is a VEGFR type IIA therapeutic that is FDA-approved for the treatment of renal cell carcinomas. Sunitinib is a VEGFR type IIB inhibitor that is also FDA-approved for the treatment of these carcinomas. The type IIA inhibitor has a residence time of greater than 64 min while that of the type IIB inhibitor has a residence time of less than 2.9 min [60].

  1. Drug-ligand binding pockets






Liao [62] and van Linden et al. [42] divided the section between the N-terminal and C- terminal lobes of protein kinases into a front cleft (front pocket), a gate area, and a back cleft. Hydrophobic pocket II (HPII) consists of the gate area and back cleft (Fig. 7). The front cleft consists of the hinge residues along with the adjacent adenine-binding pocket (AP), the residues of the catalytic loop (HRD(x)4N), and the glycine-rich loop. The gate area consists of the small lobe β3-strand and the proximal portion of the large lobe activation segment including DFG. The back cleft consists of the small lobe αC-β4 back loop and the β4- and β5-strands and the large lobe αE-helix. Designing pharmaceuticals to interact with various binding pockets plays an important role in protein kinase antagonist development with a strategy aimed at maximizing drug affinity.

van Linden et al. described several front pocket, gate area, and back cleft regions (Table 7) [42]. Accordingly, the front cleft contains residues that constitute the adenine-binding pocket (AP) as well as two nearby front pockets (FP-I and FP-II). Most ATP-competitive steady-state inhibitors possess a core pharmacophoric platform that interacts with essential features of the adenine binding site. This core scaffold is linked to various chemical fragments that interact with nearby binding pockets or subpockets. FP-I resides between the C-terminal lobe xDFG (x is the amino acid residue immediately preceding the activation loop DFG signature sequence) and the hinge residues exposed to the solvent and FP-II occurs between the glycine-rich loop and the N- terminal lobe β3-strand near the ceiling of the cleft. BP-I-A and BP-I-B are found in the gate area between the β3- and β4-strands, the αC-helix, the N-terminal lobe β3-strand K of the AxK signature, and the C-terminal lobe xDFG-motif. The smaller BP-I-A compartment, which is

found near the uppermost gate area, is enclosed by residues of the β5- and adjacent β3-strands including the AVK signature residues and the αC-helix. The larger BP-I-B occurs in the central






gate area and allows for access to the back cleft. Both BP-I-A and BP-I-B are found in both the DFG-Din and the DFG-Dout protein kinase configurations.

BP-II-in and BP-II-A-in are found within the back cleft of the DFG-Din protein kinase conformation [62]. These pockets are bounded by the N-terminal lobe αC-helix, the αC-β4 back loop, and the β5- and β4-strands and the C-terminal lobe DFG-signature. Key conformational changes of BP-II-in and BP-II-A-in generate the BP-II-out compartment that exists only in the DFG-Dout conformation; these structural changes are a result of the movement of DFG-F. This interchange brings about the formation of BP-II-out; it occupies the space where the DFG-F is found in the DFG-Din structure. BP-II-B is bounded by the αC-helix and the nearby β4-strand in both the DFG-Din and DFG-Dout configurations. In contrast to BP-II-B, BP-III occurs only in the DFG-Dout structure (Fig. 3B). BP-III is found on the floor of the BP-II-out pocket between the αC-β4 back loop, the αC-helix of the small lobe, the β6-strand residues, the αE-helix, the activation segment DFG-Dout signature sequence, and the conserved catalytic loop HRD-H of the large lobe. BP-IV and BP-V, which are partially solvent exposed, are found between the β6- strand residues, the catalytic loop, the DFG-Dout motif and the activation segment of the large lobe and the small lobe αC-helix (Fig. 7).

van Linden et al. created a comprehensive catalog of structures depicting drug and ligand binding to more than 1200 human and mouse protein kinases [42]. Their KLIFS (kinase–ligand interaction fingerprint and structure) formulary includes an array of 85 possible ligand binding- site residues that occur in both the small and large lobes. Their catalog aids in the discovery of correlated interactions and facilitates the classification of pharmaceuticals based upon their binding features. Furthermore, this consortium devised a common amino acid residue numbering convention that aids in the comparison of different drug-kinase interactions. The correspondence






between the KLIFS catalog of residue numbers and the FGFR R-spine, shell, and C-spine amino acid residue nomenclature is provided in Table 3. Additionally, this consortium launched an informative non-commercial searchable web site, which is regularly updated, that describes the interaction of protein kinases with ligands and drugs ( Moreover, Carles et al. devised a comprehensive directory of small molecule protein kinase and PI3K blockers that have been or are being studied in clinical trials [63]. These investigators launched a non-commercial searchable web site, which is also regularly updated, that includes inhibitor structures and physicochemical properties, their enzyme and therapeutic targets, and their trade names ( Furthermore, the BRIMR (Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research) website, which is also regularly updated, provides the structures and Lipinski rule of five properties [64] of all FDA-approved small molecule protein kinase inhibitors (

  1. Structure of FGFR-drug complexes


5.1 Erdafitinib


Erdafitinib is a quinoxaline derivative (Fig. 8A) [65] that was approved for the first-line treatment of urothelial bladder cancer bearing susceptible FGFR2/3 mutations or for the second- line treatment of locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer following platinum-based chemotherapy (Table 8) [47]. Importantly, urothelial cancers are the fourth most prevalent cancer worldwide and erdafitinib fulfills and unmet medical need. Moreover, erdafitinib was granted accelerated approval by the FDA. Such designations indicate that additional ongoing clinical trials will be necessary to confirm the clinical benefit of this medication. The response rate of erdafitinib therapy in the second-line treatment of patients with FGFR3 mutations or FGFR2/3 fusion proteins was 40% with 3% achieving a complete response and 37% achieving a partial






response [66]. The IC50 values for FGFR1/2/3/4 are 2.0/2.0/4.0/6.3 nM and that for VEGFR2 is 50 nM. Erdafitinib is a potent inhibitor of all of the fibroblast growth factor kinases and is classified as a pan-FGFR inhibitor (Table 9).

The X-ray crystal structure of erdafitinib bound to FGFR1 shows that the N1 of quinoxaline forms a hydrogen bond with A564 (the third hinge residue) and the dimethoxyphenyl oxygen forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of DFG-D641 (Fig. 9A) [51]. Erdafitinib makes hydrophobic contact with five spine residues (RS2/3, CS6/7/8) and all three shell residues (Sh1/2/3) (Table 10). The pharmaceutical interacts hydrophobically with the β1-strand residue immediately preceding the glycine-rich loop (L484); this residue corresponds to KLIFS-3 (kinase–ligand interaction fingerprint and structure residue-3). Erdafitinib also makes hydrophobic contact with AVK514 of the β3-strand, I545 of the αC-β4 back loop, E562,Y563, A564, and S565 within the hinge, as well as HRD(x)4N628, and A640 (the x of xDFG). The therapeutic occupies the front cleft, the gate area, and the back cleft including FP-I, BP-I-A, and BP-I-B and it extends past the gatekeeper residue. The compound is bound to a DFG-Din inactive conformation of FGFR1 with the autoinhibitory brake and the activation segment in a closed conformation. Overall this interaction corresponds to that of a type I½A inhibitor [60].

One of the most common side effects of erdafitinib is hyperphosphatemia, which occurs in about three-quarters of patients [47,66]. As noted in Table 1, FGF23 participates in the regulation of phosphate homeostasis. Under physiological conditions, FGF23 released from the bone suppresses phosphate reabsorption in the proximal tubules of the kidney [67]. Blockade of the action of FGF23 allows phosphate reabsorption and this leads to hyperphosphatemia; it appears that FGFR1 is a major participant in renal phosphate homeostasis [68,69], although this






is not entirely settled and it may also involve the participation of FGFR3/4 [70]. Chronic elevated serum phosphate may lead to ectopic calcification in soft tissues. Serum phosphate represents a biomarker for the inhibition of FGFRs and it is class specific reflecting inhibition of FGF23 action and not that of other growth factors or their corresponding receptor protein

kinases. Grade 3 (out of 4) hyponatremia occurs in about 11% of patients [66]; the mechanism of this response is unclear. See Refs. [47,71] for a summary of the clinical trials that led to the approval of erdafitinib.

5.2 Ponatinib


Ponatinib is an imidazo[1,2-b]pyridazine derivative (Fig. 8B) [72] that is FDA-approved for the treatment of Philadelphia chromosome positive CML and ALL (Table 8). See Refs. [73,74] for a summary of the clinical trials that led to these approvals. Huang et al. initially developed this pharmaceutical as a BCR-Abl non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor with activity against the Abl T315I gatekeeper mutation [74]. The IC50 values for FGFR1/2/3/4 are 2.2/1.6/18.2/7.7 nM, those for VEGFR1/2/3 are 3.7/1.5/2.3 nM, those for PDGFRα/β are 1.1/7.7 nM, that for RET is 0.2 nM, that for Kit is 12.5 nM, that for CSF1R is 8.6 nM, and that for Flt3

is 12.6 nM [75]. Based on these data, ponatinib is classified as a multi-kinase inhibitor (Table 9). The therapeutic is in clinical trials for tumors that have increased FGFR activity. The X-ray crystal structure of ponatinib bound to human FGFR4 as determined by Tucker et al. (4uxq) [76]

demonstrates that the imidazopyridazine scaffold forms a hydrogen bond with the A553 N–H group (the third hinge residue) of FGFR4 (Fig. 9B). An amino N–H group from the pharmaceutical forms a hydrogen bond with the side chain carboxylate group of E520 within the αC-helix, the pharmaceutical carbonyl oxygen forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of DFG-D630, and the piperazinyl nitrogen forms a hydrogen bond with the carbonyl oxygen of






I609; I609 occurs immediately before the HRD-H610. Ponatinib makes apolar contact with six spine residues (RS1/2/3, CS6/7/8), all three shell residues (Sh1/2/3), and the KLIFS-3 residue. The therapeutic makes hydrophobic contact with the β3-strand V502, the αC E520, V523, and M524, the αC-β4 back loop I527, the β6-strand C608 and I609. It also makes hydrophobic contact with the catalytic loop R611, the β8-strand I628 and A629 (the x of xDFG). Because the ligand extends past the gate area of the DFG-Dout structure, the overall classification is that of a Type IIA inhibitor [60]. Ponatinib has not been shown to increase serum phosphate levels.

Lesca et al. [77] and Huang et al. [78] also determined the X-ray crystal structure of ponatinib bound to FGFR4 (PDB ID: 4tyj and 4qrc, respectively). The FGFR4 DFG-Dout structures from these two studies were superimposable with each other with the exception of a portion of the activation segments (not shown). The hydrogen bonding patterns were the same in these two studies except that the 4qrc structure had an additional bond from the piperazinyl nitrogen to the carbonyl group of the HRD-H610. All three of the aforementioned ponatinib- FGFR4 structures exhibit the characteristics of a Type IIA inhibitor and ponatinib occupies the front cleft, gate area, back cleft, BP-I-A/B, BP-II-out, BP-III, and BP-IV (Table 10).

5.3 Dovitinib


Dovitinib is a quinoline-benzimidazole derivative (Fig. 8C) that is in several clinical trials targeting various solid tumors including those of the bladder (Table 8). The IC50 values for FGFR1/2/3/4 are 10/400/3.2/3000 nM, those for VEGFR1/2/3 are 3.2/20/2.5 nM, those for PDGFRα/β are 50/4 nM, that for Kit is 1 nM, and that for RET is 5.0 nM (ChEMBL ID: CHEMBL522892). Based on these findings, dovitinib is classified as a multi-kinase inhibitor (Table 9). Bunney et al. and Klein et al. described the X-ray crystal structure of the pharmaceutical bound to FGFR1 [79,80]. The quinoline N–H group hydrogen bonds to the






carbonyl group of E562 (the first hinge residue) and the 2-keto group of the quinoline scaffold hydrogen bonds with the N–H group of A564 within the hinge; moreover, an N–H group from the benzimidazole hydrogen bonds with the carbonyl group of A564 (Fig. 9C). Moreover, dovitinib makes hydrophobic contact with three spine residues (CS6/7/8), two shell residues (Sh1/2), and KLIFS-3. The therapeutic also interacts hydrophobically with AVK514 and E562, Y563, A564, S565, and K566 of the hinge. Dovitinib binds to residues within the front pocket and does not extend past the gatekeeper residue. The enzyme exists in a DFG-Din inactive conformation with the autoinhibitory brake and a closed activation segment. The dovitinib- FGFR1 exhibits the properties of a Type I½B inhibitor [60]. Dovitinib binds to the gatekeeper V561M mutant (PDB ID: 5am7) as described for the wildtype enzyme (PDB ID: 5am6). However, there is greater hydrophobic interaction of the drug with the mutant M561residue than with the wild type V561 residue. Unlike erdafitinib, dovitinib fails to produce hyperphosphatemia [67].

5.4 AZD4547


AZD4547 is a pyrazole derivative (Fig. 8D) that is an inhibitor of FGFR1/2/3 (IC50 values of 0.2/1.8/2.5 nM) with weaker activity against FGFR4 (IC50 value of 165 nM) and VEGFR2 (IC50 value of 24 nM) [75]. It also inhibits CSF1R (IC50 of 9.7 nM), Kit (24 nM), and Flt3 (85 nM). Based on these data, AZD4547 is classified as a FGFR1/2/3 inhibitor (Table 9). It is in several clinical trials that are directed toward a variety of solid tumors (Table 8). Tucker et al.

and Sohl et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of AZD4547 bound to FGFR1 [76,81]. The structures show that the pyrazole group forms hydrogen bonds with the carbonyl group of E562 and the N-H group of A564 of the hinge (Fig. 9D). An amino group from the pharmaceutical forms another hydrogen bond with the carbonyl group of A564. Furthermore, an oxygen atom






from one methoxy group forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of DFG-D641. The pharmaceutical makes apolar contact with five spine residues (RS2/3, CS6/7/8), three shell residues (Sh1/2/3), and KLIFS-3 (Table 10). Moreover, it interacts hydrophobically with F489 within the glycine-rich loop (the Φ of GxGxΦG), AVK-K514 within the β3-strand, E531 and M535 within the αC-helix, I545 within the αC-β4 back loop, Y563, A564, S565, and K566 within the hinge, E571 within the αD-helix, A640 (the x of xDFG), and DFG-D641. AZD4547 occupies the front cleft, gate area, and back cleft including BP-I-A and BP-I-B and it extends past the gatekeeper residue. The drug binds to an inactive (autoinhibited brake, closed activation segment) DFG-Din enzyme form and is classified as a Type I½A inhibitor [60]. Like erdafitinib, AZD4547 produces hyperphosphatemia [82].

Sohl et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of AZD4547 bound to the activated gatekeeper mutant of FGFR1 (V561M) [81]. The AZD4547 hydrogen bonds with E562 and A564 as seen in the wildtype enzyme, but there is no hydrogen bond with DFG-D641 as the flexible ethyl group in the therapeutic allows for the translocation of the 3,5-dimethoxyphenyl group (Fig. 9E). The hydrophobic interactions of AZD4547 with the mutant enzyme are nearly the same as those described above with the exception of a lack of interaction with F489 of the glycine-rich loop and E531 and M535 of the αC-helix. In contrast to its binding to the wildtype enzyme, AZD4547 fails to bind to the gate area or back pocket of the mutant and it does not extend past the gatekeeper residue; instead, it interacts with the front pocket and FP-II. The mutant drug-enzyme complex corresponds to that of a type I½B inhibitor (inactive DFG-Din conformation with the autoinhibitory brake and a closed activation segment) [60]. Fig. 9F shows the superposition of the drug binding to the wildtype and gatekeeper mutants.

5.5 CH5183284/Debio 1347






This drug is an indole-aminopyrazole derivative (Fig. 8E) that specifically inhibits FGFR1/2/3 with IC 50 values of 9.3/7.6/22 nM and that for FGFR4 of 290 nM and the pharmaceutical is classified as a FGFR1/2/3 inhibitor (Table 9) [75,83,84]. Its IC50 values vs. VEGFR1/2, Kit, Flt3, and PDGFRβ are 2–3 orders of magnitude greater [75]. It is in three clinical trials in patients with breast cancer and other solid tumors (Table 8). Nakanisi et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of CH5183284 bound to FGFR1 [83]. The amino group of the compound forms a hydrogen bond with the carbonyl oxygen of E562 (the first hinge residue), the ketone oxygen forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of A564, and the indole N–H group forms a hydrogen bond with the carbonyl group of A564 (Fig. 9G). The pharmaceutical makes apolar contact with five spine residues (RS2/3, CS6/7/8), two shell residues (Sh1/2), and the KLIFS-3 residue. It also makes hydrophobic contact with AVK514, Y563, A564, and S565

of the hinge, A640 (the x of xDFG), and DFG-D641. Nakanishi et al. report that the interactions of (i) the benzimidazole methyl group with F642, (ii) the benzimidazole nitrogen with the sulfur atom of M535, and (iii) the benzimidazole aromatic ring with the gatekeeper (M561) play an important role in promoting the interaction specificity of CH5183284 with FGFR1/2/3 [83]. The compound occupies the front cleft, gate area, and BP-I-B while not extending past the gatekeeper and it binds to a DFG-Din inactive enzyme (with the autoinhibitory brake and a closed activation segment). The drug is classified as a Type I½B inhibitor [60]. It is unknown whether

CH5183284 produces hyperphosphatemia.


5.6 Infigratinib


The pharmaceutical is a pyrimidine derivative (Fig. 8F) that inhibits FGFR1/2/3 with IC50 values of 0.9/1.4/1.0 nM and FGFR4 with an IC50 value of 60 nM [75,85]. Accordingly, infigratinib is classified as a FGFR1/2/3 inhibitor (Table 9). Its IC50 for VEGFR2 is 180 nM; its






effectiveness against other protein kinases has not been examined. The therapeutic is in 16 clinical trials, six of which are directed at patients with FGFR dysregulation (Table 8). Guagnano et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of infigratinib bound to FGFR1 [85] It shows that

the pyrimidine N3 forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of A564 (the third hinge residue) and the amino group of the ligand forms a hydrogen bond with the carbonyl group of A564 (Fig. 9H). Moreover, one of the methoxy oxygens forms a polar bond with the N–H group of DFG- D641 and the piperazine N4 N–H group hydrogen bonds with the carboxylate side chain of E571 within the αD-helix. Infigratinib makes hydrophobic contact with five spine residues (RS2/3 and CS6/7/8), all three shell residues (Sh1/2/3), and KLIFS-3. The agent also interacts hydrophobically with V513 and K514 of the β3-strand, E531 and M535 of the αC-helix, E562, Y563, and A564 of the hinge, A640 (the x of xDFG), and with DFG-D641. The pharmaceutical occupies the front cleft, gate area, back cleft, BP-I-A, and BP-I-B (Table 10). Infigratinib binds to an inactive structure with the autoinhibitory brake, a closed activation segment, and the DFG- Din conformation; the drug extends past the gatekeeper residue and it is classified as a Type I½A inhibitor [60]. Like erdafitinib, infigratinib produces hyperphosphatemia in patients [86].

5.7 Lenvatinib


Lenvatinib is a quinoline derivative (Fig. 8G) that blocks the activity of several protein kinases [87,88]. Its IC50 values for FGFR1/2/3/4 are 22/8.2/15/14 nM, for VEGFR1/2/3 are 1.3/0.74/0.71 nM, for RET is 1.5 nM, and for Kit is 11 nM [88]. Based upon these data, lenvatinib is classified as a multi-kinase antagonist (Table 9). The therapeutic was FDA approved for the treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer in 2015 and is currently in more than

100 clinical trials (Table 8) several of which include patients with diseases associated with FGFR dysfunction. Matsuki et al. determined the structure of this pharmaceutical bound to FGFR1 [89].






The results demonstrate that N1 of the quinoline group forms a hydrogen bond with the A564 N– H group of the third hinge residue, the two ureido N–H groups interact with the carboxylate side chain of αC-E531, and the ureido oxygen forms a hydrogen bond with the DFG-D641 N–H group (Fig. 9I). Lenvatinib makes hydrophobic contact with five spine residues (RS2/3 and CS6/7/8), two shell residues (Sh1/2), and KLIFS-3 (Table 10). The pharmaceutical also interacts hydrophobically with F489 within the glycine-rich loop (the Φ of GxGxΦG), the β3-AVK514, E531 and M535 of the αC-helix, E562, Y563, A564, and S565 of the hinge, and A640 (the x of xDFG). The ligand occupies the front cleft, gate area, back cleft, BP-I-A, BP-I-B, and BP-II-in and it extends past the gatekeeper residue. Lenvatinib binds to an inactive enzyme with the autoinhibitory brake, a closed activation segment, and the DFG-Din conformation; it is classified as a Type I½A inhibitor [60]. Lenvatinib has not been shown to increase serum phosphate levels.

5.8 LY2874455


LY2874455 is a pyrazole-indazole derivative (Fig. 8H) that inhibits FGFR1/2/3/4 with IC50 values of 2.8/2.6/6.4/5 nM and the pharmaceutical is classified as a pan-FGFR blocker (Table 9) [90]. It is 6–9 fold more potent in blocking FGF signaling that VEGF signaling in vivo. The therapeutic is in two clinical trials, one of which is based upon potential FGFR dysfunction (Clinical trials identifier: NCT01212107). Wu et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of the pharmaceutical bound to FGFR4 [91]. This shows that the N1 indazole N–H hydrogen bonds with the backbone carbonyl group of E551 and the N2 nitrogen hydrogen bonds with the N–H group of A553 (the third hinge residue); the pyridine nitrogen hydrogen bonds with the N–H group of N557 at the end of the hinge region (Fig. 9J). The pharmaceutical makes hydrophobic contact with three spine residues (CS6/7/8), two shell residues (Sh2/3), and KLIFS-3. It also makes hydrophobic contact with E465 within the glycine-rich loop, the β3 AVK503, C552,






A553, A554, K555, and N557 within the hinge region, R616 within the catalytic loop, and A629 (the x of xDFG). The compound occupies the front cleft only. The activation segment is disordered and one cannot tell whether it is in an open or closed configuration. However, the enzyme exhibits an autoinhibitory brake and is thus inactive. Based upon these observations, LY2874455 is classified as a type I½B inhibitor of FGFR4 [60]. Furthermore, this pharmaceutical produces hyperphosphatemia [92].

5.9 Lucitanib


Lucitanib is a quinoline derivative bearing aminocyclopropyl and naphthalene substituents (Fig. 8I) that was initially developed as an angiogenesis inhibitor [93]. Its IC50

values for FGFR1 (7 nM), VEGFR1/2 (12/4 nM), Src (4.9 nM), and PDGFRα/β (13/8 nM) are in the low nM range and the drug is classified as a multi-kinase inhibitor (Table 9); its IC50 values for RET, Kit, and Src are orders of magnitude higher. Sohl et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of the pharmaceutical bound to FGFR1 [81]. It demonstrates that the N1 of the

quinoline scaffold makes a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of A564 (the third hinge residue), the carboxamide oxygen hydrogen bonds with the N–H group of DFG-D641, and the amide group forms a hydrogen bond with αC-E531 (Fig. 9K). The pharmaceutical makes hydrophobic contact with five spine residues (RS2/3, CS6/7/8), three shell residues (Sh1/2/3), and the KLIFS- 3 valine residue (Table 10). Lucitanib also interacts hydrophobically with the β3-strand K514, E531 of the αC-helix, E562, Y563, A564, S565 of the hinge region, A640 (the x of xDFG), and L644 within the activation segment. The agent occupies the front cleft, gate area, back cleft, BP-

I-A, BP-I-B, and BP-II-in (Table 10). The compound is bound to a DFG-Din inactive conformation of FGFR1 with the autoinhibitory brake and a closed activation segment. Overall






this interaction corresponds to that of a type I½A inhibitor [60]. Unlike erdafitinib, lucitanib does not produce hyperphosphatemia [67]

  1. Structures of covalent drug-FGFR complexes and common drug-enzyme interactions


6.1 Futibatinib


This pharmaceutical is a pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine derivative (Fig. 8J) that inhibits FGFR1/2/3/4 with IC50 values of 3.9/1.3/1.6/8.3 nM and futibatinib is classified as a pan-FGFR antagonist (Table 9) [94]. Its inhibitory activity against other protein kinases has not been tested. The pharmaceutical is in four clinical trials, two of which are in patients with FGFR2 dysregulation (Table 8). Kalyukina et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of this agent covalently bound to FGFR1 [94]. It shows that the 4-amino group of the pyrimidine forms a hydrogen bond with the carbonyl group of E562 and N3 forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of A564 (the third hinge residue, Fig. 9H). The oxygen atom of one of the methoxy groups forms a hydrogen bond with the backbone N–H group of DFG-D641 while the compound forms a covalent Michael adduct with C488 (Fig. 10A). Futibatinib makes hydrophobic contact with five spine residues (RS2/3 and CS6/7/8), all three shell residues (Sh1/2/3), and KLIFS-3 (Table 10). The medicinal also makes hydrophobic contact with F489 of the glycine-rich loop, V492 within the β2-strand, AVK514 of the β3-strand, E531 and M535 of the αC-helix, Y563 within

the hinge, A640 (the x of xDFG), and DFG-D641. The compound occupies the front cleft, gate area, back cleft and BP-I-A and BP-I-B. The drug is classified as a type VI covalent inhibitor. Owing to the disorder of the activation segment, one cannot classify it as open or closed. However, the enzyme exhibits the autoinhibitory FGFR brake (not shown) and is therefore in an inactive conformation. Like erdafitinib, futibatinib produces hyperphosphatemia [95].

6.2 Roblitinib






The pharmaceutical is a 1,8-naphthyridine pyridine derivative (Fig. 8K) with an IC50 value of 2 nM against FGFR4 [96]. It fails to inhibit FGFR1/2/3, VEGFR2, and RET with IC 50 values greater than 10 μM; roblitinib is classified as a FGFR4 blocker (Table 9). The therapeutic

has been in a clinical trial against hepatocellular carcinomas expressing FGFR4 (NCT02325739). Zhou et al. determined the structure of this pharmaceutical covalently bound to FGFR4 [97]. The aldehyde moiety of the compound forms a hemithioacetal with C552 and the resulting hydroxyl group hydrogen bonds with V500 within the β3-strand (Fig. 10B). Moreover, the pyridine nitrogen forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of A553 (the third hinge residue), and the oxygen from the piperazinyl group forms a hydrogen bond with guanidinium group of R483 within the β2-strand. Roblitinib makes hydrophobic contact with three spine residues (CS6/7/8), two shell residues (Sh1/2), and KLIFS-3. It also makes hydrophobic contact with AVK503 of the β3-strand and E551, C552, A553, and A554 within the hinge. The pharmaceutical occupies the front pocket and does not extend past the gatekeeper residue. Roblitinib binds to an inactive (autoinhibited brake, closed activation segment) DFG-Din enzyme form; the ligand binds covalently to FGFR4 and is classified as a Type VI inhibitor [60]. It is unknown whether roblitinib produces hyperphosphatemia.

6.3 H3B-6527


The pharmaceutical is a pyrimidine derivative (Fig. 8L) and a potent inhibitor of FGFR4 (IC50 < 1.2 nM) with little activity against FGFR1/2/3 (320/1290/1060 nM) or CSF1R (>10 μM) [98]. Accordingly, H3B-6527 is classified as a FGFR4 antagonist (Table 9). The agent is in two clinical trials with one targeting HCC (NCT02834748). Joshi et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of the drug covalently bound to a FGFR1 Y563C mutant that serves as a surrogate for FGFR4 [98]. Residue 563 corresponds to the second hinge residue and is a cysteine in FGFR4,






but it is a tyrosine in FGFR1/2/3. This genetic alteration in FGFR1 essentially mirrors the ATP- binding pocket in FGFR4. The structure demonstrates that the pyrimidine nitrogen hydrogen bonds with the N–H group of A564 and the amino group of the pharmaceutical hydrogen bonds with the carbonyl group of A564 (the third hinge residue). Moreover, an oxygen of one of the methoxy groups hydrogen bonds with the N–H group of DFG-D641 and the acrylamide group forms a covalent linkage with C563 (Fig. 10C). The compound makes hydrophobic contact with five spine residues (RS2/3 and CS6/7/8), two shell residues (Sh1/2), and KLIFS-3. It also makes hydrophobic contact with L494, V511, V513, and K514 of the β3-strand, E531 and M535 of the αC-helix, V559 of the β5-strand, E562 and A564 of the hinge, and E571 of the αD-strand. The drug occupies the front pocket, gate area, back pocket, BP-I-A and BP-I-B. The enzyme exhibits an inactive conformation with the autoinhibitory brake and a closed activation segment. It is classified as a Type VI inhibitor owing to its covalent attachment to the target enzyme [60]. It is unknown whether H3B-6527 produces hyperphosphatemia.

6.4 Shared interactions of the above drugs with the fibroblast growth factor receptors


Each of the above pharmaceuticals makes hydrophobic contact with catalytic spine residues CS5/6/7 and shell residues Sh1/2 (Table 10). All of the drugs form one or two hydrogen bonds with the third hinge residue (KLIFS 48). Moreover, each of the pharmaceuticals makes hydrophobic contact with KLIFS residues 3 and 17 (Fig. 11). All of the drugs also make hydrophobic contact with KLIFS-47 (the second hinge residue). CS7 (alanine), CS8 (valine), KLIFS-3 (valine), and KLIFS-17 (lysine) are conserved residues throughout the protein-tyrosine kinase family. Besides the third hinge residue, dovitinib, AZD4547, CH5183214, futibatinib, and LY2874455 also form hydrogen bonds with the first hinge residue. Furthermore, erdafitinib, AZD4547, CH5183214, infigratinib, lenvatinib, lucitanib, futibatinib, ponatinib, and LY2874455






interact hydrophobically with the residue immediately before the activation segment (xDFG, or KLIFS-80). AZD4547, infigratinib, lenvatinib, futibatinib, and H3B-6527 interact hydrophobically with a glutamate (KLIFS-24) and methionine (KLIFS-28) within the αC-helix; these pharmaceuticals occupy subpockets BP-I-A and BP-I-B. The pockets and subpockets with which these drugs interact with are listed in Table 10 and their locations are illustrated in Fig. 7. The formation of a hydrogen bond with the third hinge residue and hydrophobic interactions with CS6/7/8, Sh1/2, and KLIFS residue-3 is a property that the aforementioned pharmaceuticals

share with all of the FDA-approved protein kinase inhibitors that interact directly with the kinase domain [43].

  1. Inhibitors lacking drug-FGFR X-ray crystal structures


Nintedanib is an indole carboxylate derivative (Fig. 8M) that is an inhibitor of (i) FGFR1 with an IC50 value of 38 nM, (ii) VEGFR1/2/3 with values of 104/5/5, and (iii) PDGFRα with a value of 18 nM [99]. Accordingly, nintedanib is classified as a multi-kinase inhibitor (Table 9). It was initially developed as a VEGFR inhibitor for the treatment of a variety of solid tumors. The therapeutic was FDA-approved (2014) for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which may be due to its inhibition of FGFR1/2/3. It is undergoing clinical trials targeting a variety of cancers as indicated in Table 8. We lack X-ray crystal structures of the compound bound to any of the FGFRs, but Terzyan et al. determined its mode of binding to the RET protein-tyrosine kinase [100]. They found that the N–H group of the indole forms a hydrogen bond with the first hinge residue and the 2-carbonyl oxygen forms a hydrogen bond with the N–H group of the third hinge residue (PDB ID: 6nec). The carbonyl moiety attached to the indole group forms a hydrogen bond with the RET DFG-D aspartate. The pharmaceutical binds to an active conformation of RET and is thus a Type I inhibitor. Whether nintedanib binds to FGFR1/2/3 in a






similar fashion remains to be established. The therapeutic is not known to produce hyperphosphatemia.

Pazopanib is an indazolylpyrimidine derivative (Fig. 8N) that is an inhibitor of VEGFR1/2/3 with IC50 values of 10/30/47 nM; moreover, it inhibits PDGFRβ, Kit, and FGFR1 with IC50 values of 84, 74, and 140 nM, respectively [101]. The pharmaceutical is classified as a multi-kinase inhibitor (Table 9). Although these inhibitory values are not impressive, pazopanib is FDA-approved for the treatment of renal cell carcinomas and soft tissue sarcomas ( The therapeutic is in or has been in more than 200 clinical trials targeting a variety of tumor types (Table 8). We lack crystal structures of the compound bound to any protein kinase. It has two hydrogen bond donors and eight hydrogen bond acceptors suggesting a large number of possible binding modes to its target enzymes. Harris et al. determined the X-ray crystal structure of a pazopanib congener with VEGFR2 and found that the pyrimidine and adjacent amino group form hydrogen bonds with the third hinge residue [101]. Whether this mirrors the binding of pazopanib to any of the FGFRs remains to be determined. Early studies identify pazopanib as a promising treatment for pediatric soft tissue sarcomas

[102]. The pharmaceutical is not known to produce hyperphosphatemia.


Pemigatinib is a tetra-azatricyclotridecatetraene derivative (Fig. 8O) that is a potent inhibitor of FGFR1/2/3 [103]. Its IC50 values for FGFR1/2/3/4 are 0.4/0.5/1.2/30 nM, respectively. Accordingly, the drug is classified as a FGFR1/2/3 blocker (Table 9). Its effectiveness in inhibiting other protein kinases has not been reported. It is in five clinical trials against tumors possessing FGFR alterations ( Information on the nature of its binding to target enzymes is lacking and it is unknown whether the therapeutic produces hyperphosphatemia.






Rogaratinib is a pyrrolotriazine derivative (Fig. 8P) that was designed as a specific inhibitor of the FGFRs [104]. It is a potent inhibitor of FGFR1/2/3/4 with IC50 values of 12/<1/19/33 nM and the pharmaceutical is classified as a pan-FGFR blocker. Rogaratinib has not been tested against a large panel of protein kinases, but it is a less potent inhibitor of VEGFR2 (IC50 of 120 nM) which would minimize some of its potential side effects. It is in clinical trials against a variety of solid tumors as listed in Table 8. The compound possesses two hydrogen bond donors and eight hydrogen bond acceptors and there are many possible ways that this drug could interact with the its target enzymes. However, there is no structural information on its

mode of binding with its targets. Like erdafitinib, rogaratinib produces hyperphosphatemia [105].


Fisogatinib is a quinazoline derivative bearing an acrylamide group (Fig. 8Q) that targets FGFR4 with an IC50 value of 4 nM while the values for FGFR1/2/3 are 506/801/1540 nM and this medicinal is classified as a FGFR4 antagonist (Table 9) [106]. FGFR4 bears a cysteine at position 552 (the second hinge residue) that reacts with the acrylamide group to form a Michael adduct whereas FGFR1/2/3 lack a comparable cysteine at this location. The therapeutic is in a clinical trial targeting patients with hepatocellular carcinomas. Owing to the covalent nature of its binding to FGFR4, the pharmaceutical is classified as a Type VI inhibitor [60]. Afatinib and dacomitinib are FDA-approved Type VI covalent protein kinase inhibitors that possess, like fisogatinib, a quinazoline scaffold. Afatinib and dacomitinib are inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor family that are used in the treatment of NSCLC [43]. Fisogatinib does not produce hyperphosphatemia [69]. See Ref. [71] for a summary of clinical trials involving FGFR therapeutics.

PRN1371 is a pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidine derivative bearing an enoylpiperazine group (Fig. 8R) that inhibits FGFR1/2/3/4 and CSF1R with IC50 values of 0.6/1.3/4.1/19.3, and 8.1 nM, but






fails to inhibit a panel of some 250 other protein kinases [107]. Accordingly, PRN1371 is classified as a pan-FGFR blocker (Table 9). The compound was designed to covalently bond to FGFR1 C488, which occurs within the glycine-rich loop. A comparable residue occurs in FGFR2/3/4 and only three other protein kinases. Moreover, a comparable cysteine is lacking in closely related off-targets such as VEGFR1/2/3 and PDGFRα/β. The therapeutic is in a phase I clinical trial in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinomas. Owing to the covalent nature of its binding to FGFR1/2/3/4, PRN1371 is classified as a Type VI inhibitor [60]. It is not known whether PRN1371 produces hyperphosphatemia.

  1. Epilogue and perspective


The Kit signaling family includes only the stem cell factor (SCF) and its Kit receptor while the PDGFR family involves four growth factors and two receptors (Table 11). The VEGFR family includes five growth factors and three receptors while the ErbB family consists of 11 growth factors and four receptors. The FGF family is one of the largest, if not the largest,

signaling constellation with a total of 22 growth factors, four protein-kinase receptors, and a fifth receptor lacking intracellular enzyme activity. The potential combinations of FGF1–23 and FGFR1–4 interactions numbers in the thousands. This multiplicity increases the difficulty in deciphering specific signaling pathways. The FGFR family plays an integral role in human development [3]. Moreover, there is a considerable interplay of factors produced in

mesenchymal tissue with receptors expressed in epithelial cells. Similarly, there is extensive interaction between FGFs and their receptors in tumor cells and tumor stromal cells.

Although this review focuses on the role of fibroblast growth factor receptor dysregulation during neoplastic transformation, there are dozens of skeletal diseases related to FGFR genetic abnormalities [3]. One of the more common of these disorders is achondroplasia,






a form of short-limbed dwarfism. The pathogenesis of achondroplasia results from an inability to convert cartilage to bone during ossification, particularly in the long bones of the arms and legs. People with achondroplasia have short stature. The average height of an adult male with achondroplasia is 4 feet, 4 inches (131 centimeters) and the average height of an adult female is 4 feet, 1 inch (124 centimeters). An autosomal dominant G380R mutation in the FGFR3 gene is

the predominant cause achondroplasia [109]. This mutation within the transmembrane segment causes the FGFR3 protein to exhibit increased activity, which interferes with skeletal development and leads to the disturbances in bone growth seen with this disorder.

Additional skeletal anomalies with FGFR3 mutations were subsequently detected in thanatophoric dysplasia, hypochondroplasias, and other maladies whose clinical phenotypes resemble achondroplasia [3]. Thanatophoric dysplasia is the most common lethal form of dwarfism. Besides the shortened limbs, an underdeveloped thoracic cavity leads to respiratory insufficiency and death at birth or soon thereafter. The type I dysplasia is due to a K650E mutation within the activation segment and the type II dysplasia is commonly due to an R248C mutation that is found between the extracellular D2 and D3 domains [110]. Pfeiffer syndrome results from mutations of either FGFR1 or FGFR2 [111]. This syndrome is a rare genetically heterogeneous autosomal dominant disorder that is characterized by the premature fusion of certain bones of the skull (craniosynostosis) and which affects the shape of the head and face. FGFRL1 is a fibroblast growth factor receptor-like protein with a large extracellular FGF- binding component and short 105-residue intracellular portion. Its function is unknown, but a frameshift insertion encoding residues near its carboxyterminus causes an elongation of the FGFRL1 polypeptide chain from 504 amino acid residues to 551 residues resulting in craniosynostosis. This suggests that this receptor may also play a part in skeletal development.






See Ref. [3] for a list of the large number of musculoskeletal disorders related to FGF and FGFR mutations.

A major problem with all protein kinase antagonists involves the development of resistance to these therapeutics [112]. Clinical data on the molecular mechanisms of resistance to FGFR therapeutics are limited owing to the recent development and use of these compounds. However, Goyal et al. analyzed longitudinal blood samples for circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and cholangiocarcinoma tumor samples in patients receiving infigratinib during the progression of neoplasms bearing three different FGFR2 translocations (FGFR2-ZMYM4, FGFR2-OPTN, FGFR2-BICC1) [113]. DNA sequencing revealed the occurrence of several resistance mutations in the FGFR2 protein kinase domain including N549H/K, V564F (the gatekeeper), E565A, L617V, K641R and K659M. The first patient possessed N549H/K, V564F, E565A, and K659M mutations, the second patient possessed N549H, V564F, L617V, and K641R mutations, and the third patient possessed a single V564F mutation. Note that the gatekeeper mutation was observed in all three patient samples [113], and gatekeeper mutations are one of the most common causes of acquired resistance involving numerous protein kinases [114]. Whether these and other resistance mutations occur in response to the treatment of other neoplasms with different FGFR antagonists remains to be established. Moreover, additional FGFR resistance mutations, activation of by-pass pathways, and mutations in other gene products such as PTEN or PIK3CA are anticipated as other drugs such as erdafitinib and different tumors including urothelial urinary bladder cancers are examined during extended periods of treatment.

Cisplatin-based combination therapies with (i) M-VAC (methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and cisplatin), (ii) cisplatin, methotrexate and vinblastine (CMV), or (iii) gemcitabine, cisplatin, and paclitaxel (GCP) are the standard care for patients with






metastatic bladder cancer [115]. One of the theoretical advantages of using these combination- based cisplatin therapies is to lessen the occurrence of drug resistance [116]. Moreover, atezolizumab, durvalumab, and avelumab are anti-PD-L1 antibodies that are approved for second-line treatment of patients with advanced bladder cancers following platinum-based chemotherapy. Similarly, pembrolizumab and nivolumab are anti-PD-1 antibodies that are approved for the second-line treatment of bladder cancers. These five monoclonal antibodies function as immune checkpoint inhibitors. Erdafitinib is a pan-FGFR inhibitor that is approved for the second-line treatment of bladder cancers following platinum-based therapy. Although reliant on only early findings, Loriot et al. surmised that responses to erdafitinib in bladder

cancers may be more robust than their response to immune checkpoint inhibitors [66]. Additional studies will be required to substantiate or refute this hypothesis. The next-generation sequencing data argue for the potential efficacy of targeting FGFRs in a wide variety of other cancers that harbor FGFR alterations [48]. There are no protein kinase antagonists approved for the treatment of prostate cancers. Based upon the association of FGFR1/2/4 gene alterations (FGFR1 amplification, FGFR2-PPAPDC1A translocation, FGFR4 amplification, and a FGFR4 R610H mutation) with prostate cancer [48], this common malignancy represents a potential disease that might respond to FGFR inhibitors. The development of FGFR antagonists has lagged behind those of other receptor protein-tyrosine kinases [117]. However, the approval of erdafitinib may stimulate additional work targeting the many other FGFR-driven neoplasms, including those of prostate cancer.

Conflict of interest


The author is unaware of any affiliations, memberships, or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.








The author thanks Laura M. Roskoski for providing editorial and bibliographic assistance. I also thank Jasper Martinsek and Josie Rudnicki for their help in preparing the figures and W.S. Sheppard and Pasha Brezina for their help in structural analyses. The colored figures in this paper were evaluated to ensure that their perception was accurately conveyed to colorblind readers [118].







[1] Helsten T, Schwaederle M, Kurzrock R. Fibroblast growth factor receptor signaling in hereditary and neoplastic disease: biologic and clinical implications. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2015;34:47996.

[2] Goetz R, Mohammadi M. Exploring mechanisms of FGF signalling through the lens of structural biology. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2013;14:166–80.

[3] Ornitz DM, Itoh N. The fibroblast growth factor signaling pathway. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol. 2015;4:215–66.

[4] Lemmon MA, Schlessinger J. Cell signaling by receptor tyrosine kinases. Cell 2010;141:1117–34.

[5] Furdui CM, Lew ED, Schlessinger J, Anderson KS. Autophosphorylation of FGFR1 kinase is mediated by a sequential and precisely ordered reaction. Mol Cell. 2006;21:711–7.

[6] Turner N, Grose R. Fibroblast growth factor signalling: from development to cancer. Nat Rev Cancer. 2010;10:11629.






[7] Chen G, Liu Y, Goetz R, Fu L, Jayaraman S, Hu MC, et al. α-Klotho is a non-enzymatic molecular scaffold for FGF23 hormone signalling. Nature. 2018;553:461–6.

[8] Manning G, Whyte DB, Martinez R, Hunter T, Sudarsanam S. The protein kinase complement of the human genome. Science 2002;298:1912–34.

[9] Locascio LE, Donoghue DJ. KIDs rule: regulatory phosphorylation of RTKs. Trends Biochem Sci. 2013;38:75–84.

[10] Knighton DR, Zheng JH, Ten Eyck LF, Ashford VA, Xuong NH, Taylor SS, et al. Crystal structure of the catalytic subunit of cyclic adenosine monophosphate-dependent protein kinase. Science 1991;253:407–14.

[11] Knighton DR, Zheng JH, Ten Eyck LF, Xuong NH, Taylor SS, Sowadski JM. Structure of a peptide inhibitor bound to the catalytic subunit of cyclic adenosine monophosphate-dependent protein kinase. Science 1991;253:414–20.

[12] Vijayan RS, He P, Modi V, Duong-Ly KC, Ma H, Peterson, JR, et al. Conformational analysis of the DFG-out kinase motif and biochemical profiling of structurally validated type II inhibitors. J Med Chem 2015;58:466–79.

[13] Kooistra AJ, Volkamer A. Kinase-centric computational drug development. Ann Rep Med Chem 2017;50:197236.

[14] Shah K, Liu Y, Deirmengian C, Shokat KM. Engineering unnatural nucleotide specificity for Rous sarcoma virus tyrosine kinase to uniquely label its direct substrates. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1997;94:3565–70.

[15] Liu Y, Shah K, Yang F, Witucki L, Shokat KM. A molecular gate which controls unnatural ATP analogue recognition by the tyrosine kinase v-Src. Bioorganic Med Chem 1998;6:1219–26.






[16] Zuccotto F, Ardini E, Casale E, Angiolini M. Through the ”gatekeeper door”: exploiting the active kinase conformation. J Med Chem 2010;53:2691–4.

[17] Zhou J, Adams JA. Participation of ADP dissociation in the rate-determining step in cAMP- dependent protein kinase. Biochemistry 1997;36:15733–8.

[18] Bastidas AC, Deal MS, Steichen JM, Guo Y, Wu J, Taylor SS. Phosphoryl transfer by protein kinase A is captured in a crystal lattice. J Am Chem Soc 2013;135:4788–98.

[19] Knape MJ, Ballez M, Burghardt NC, Zimmermann B, Bertinetti D, Kornev AP, et al. Divalent metal ions control activity and inhibition of protein kinases. Metallomics. 2017;9:1576– 84.

[20] Chen H, Ma J, Li W, Eliseenkova AV, Xu C, Neubert TA, et al. A molecular brake in the kinase hinge region regulates the activity of receptor tyrosine kinases. Mol Cell. 2007;27:717– 30.

[21] Kornev AP, Haste NM, Taylor SS, Ten Eyck LF. Surface comparison of active and inactive protein kinases identifies a conserved activation mechanism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006;103:17783–8.

[22] Kornev AP, Taylor SS, Ten Eyck LF. A helix scaffold for the assembly of active protein kinases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008;105:14377–82.

[23] Roskoski R Jr. MEK1/2 dual-specificity protein kinases: Structure and regulation. Biochem. Biophys Res Commun 2012;417: 5–10.

[24] Roskoski R Jr. Allosteric MEK1/2 inhibitors including cobimetanib and trametinib in the treatment of cutaneous melanomas. Pharmacol Res 2017;117:20–31.

[25] Roskoski R Jr. ERK1/2 MAP kinases: structure, function, and regulation. Pharmacol Res 2012;66:105–43.






[26] Roskoski R Jr. Targeting ERK1/2 protein-serine/threonine kinases in human cancers. Pharmacol Res 2019; 142: 151–68.

[27] Roskoski R Jr. Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK): structure, oncogenic activation, and pharmacological inhibition. Pharmacol Res 2013;68:68–94.

[28] Roskoski R Jr. Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors in the treatment of ALK- driven lung cancers. Pharmacol Res 2017;117:343–56.

[29] Roskoski R Jr. ErbB/HER protein-tyrosine kinases: structures and small molecule inhibitors. Pharmacol Res 2014;79:34–74.

[30] Roskoski R Jr. Small molecule inhibitors targeting the EGFR/ErbB family of protein- tyrosine kinases in human cancers. Pharmacol. Res 2019; 139:395–411.

[31] Roskoski R Jr. Cyclin-dependent protein kinase inhibitors including palbociclib as anticancer drugs. Pharmacol Res 2016;111:784–803.

[32] Roskoski R Jr. Cyclin-dependent protein serine/threonine kinase inhibitors as anticancer drugs. Pharmacol Res 2019;139:471–88.

[33] Roskoski R Jr. Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors in the treatment of inflammatory and neoplastic diseases. Pharmacol Res 2016;111:784–803.

[34] Roskoski R Jr. The role of small molecule Kit protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment of neoplastic disorders. Pharmacol Res 2018;133:35–52.

[35] Roskoski R Jr. Targeting oncogenic Raf protein-serine/threonine kinases in human cancers. Pharmacol Res 2018;135:239–58.

[36] Roskoski R Jr, Sadeghi-Nejad A. Role of RET protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment RET-driven thyroid and lung cancers. Pharmacol Res 2018;128:1–17.






[37] Roskoski R Jr. ROS1 protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment of ROS1 fusion protein-driven non-small cell lung cancers. Pharmacol Res 2017;121:202–12.

[38] Roskoski R Jr. Ibrutinib inhibition of Bruton protein-tyrosine kinase (BTK) in the treatment of B cell neoplasms. Pharmacol Res 2016;113:395–408.

[39] Roskoski R Jr. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor inhibitors in the treatment of renal cell carcinomas. Pharmacol Res 2017;120:116–32.

[40] Roskoski R Jr. Src protein-tyrosine kinase structure, mechanism, and small molecule inhibitors. Pharmacol Res 2015;94:9–25.

[41] Meharena HS, Chang P, Keshwani MM, Oruganty K, Nene AK, Kannan N, et al. Deciphering the structural basis of eukaryotic protein kinase regulation. PLoS Biol 2013;11:e1001690.

[42] van Linden OP, Kooistra AJ, Leurs R, de Esch IJ, de Graaf C. KLIFS: a knowledge-based structural database to navigate kinase-ligand interaction space. J Med Chem 2014;57:249–77.

[43] Roskoski R Jr. Properties of FDA-approved small molecule protein kinase inhibitors. Pharmacol Res. 2019; 144, 19–50.

[44] Miller KD, Nogueira L, Mariotto AB, Rowland JH, Yabroff KR, Alfano CM, et al. Cancer treatment and survivorship statistics, 2019. CA Cancer J Clin. 2019;69:363–85.

[45] Sanli O, Dobruch J, Knowles MA, Burger M, Alemozaffar M, Nielsen ME, et al. Bladder cancer. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017;3:17022.

[46] Ghatalia P, Zibelman M, Geynisman DM, Plimack E. Approved checkpoint inhibitors in bladder cancer: which drug should be used when? Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2018:10: 1758835918788310.

[47] Hanna KS. Erdafitinib to treat urothelial carcinoma. Drugs Today (Barc). 2019;55:495–501.






[48] Helsten T, Elkin S, Arthur E, Tomson BN, Carter J, Kurzrock R. The FGFR landscape in cancer: analysis of 4,853 tumors by next-generation sequencing. Clin Cancer Res. 2016;22:259– 67.

[49] Chae YK, Ranganath K, Hammerman PS, Vaklavas C, Mohindra N, Kalyan A, et al. Inhibition of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) pathway: the current landscape and barriers to clinical application. Oncotarget. 2017;8:16052–74.

[50] Tanner Y, Grose RP. Dysregulated FGF signalling in neoplastic disorders. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2016;53:12635.

[51] Patani H, Bunney TD, Thiyagarajan N, Norman RA, Ogg D, Breed J, et al. Landscape of activating cancer mutations in FGFR kinases and their differential responses to inhibitors in clinical use. Oncotarget. 2016;7:24252–68.

[52] Stransky N, Cerami E, Schalm S, Kim JL, Lengauer C. The landscape of kinase fusions in cancer. Nat Commun. 2014;5:4846.

[53] Katoh M. Fibroblast growth factor receptors as treatment targets in clinical oncology. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2019;16:105–22.

[54] Keats JJ, Reiman T, Belch AR, Pilarski LM. Ten years and counting: so what do we know about t(4;14)(p16;q32) multiple myeloma. Leuk Lymphoma. 2006;47:2289–300.

[55] Wesche J, Haglund K, Haugsten EM. Fibroblast growth factors and their receptors in cancer. Biochem J. 2011;437:199–213.

[56] Dar AC, Shokat KM. The evolution of protein kinase inhibitors from antagonists to agonists of cellular signaling. Annu Rev Biochem 2011;80:769–95.

[57] Gavrin LK, Saiah E. Approaches to discover non-ATP site inhibitors. Med Chem Commun 2013;4:41.






[58] Lamba V, Ghosh I. New directions in targeting protein kinases: focusing upon true allosteric and bivalent inhibitors. Curr Pharm Des 2012;18:2936–45.

[59] Johnson TK, Soellner MB. Bivalent inhibitors of c-Src tyrosine kinase that bind a regulatory domain. Bioconjug Chem 2016;27:1745–9.

[60] Roskoski R Jr. Classification of small molecule protein kinase inhibitors based upon the structures of their drug-enzyme complexes. Pharmacol Res 2016;103:26–48.

[61] Copeland RA. The drug-target residence time model: a 10-year retrospective. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2016;15:8795.

[62] Liao JJ. Molecular recognition of protein kinase binding pockets for design of potent and selective kinase inhibitors. J Med Chem 2007;50:409–24.

[63] Carles F, Bourg S, Meyer C, Bonnet P. PKIDB: a curated, annotated and updated database of protein kinase inhibitors in clinical trials. Molecules 2018;23. pii: E908. doi: 10.3390/molecules23040908.

[64] Lipinski CA, Lombardo F, Dominy BW, Feeney PJ. Experimental and computational approaches to estimate solubility and permeability in drug discovery and development settings. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2001;46:3–26.

[65] Perera TPS, Jovcheva E, Mevellec L, Vialard J, De Lange D, Verhulst T, et al. Discovery and pharmacological characterization of JNJ-42756493 (erdafitinib), a functionally selective small-molecule FGFR family inhibitor. Mol Cancer Ther. 2017;16:1010–20.

[66] Loriot Y, Necchi A, Park SH, Garcia-Donas J, Huddart R, Burgess E, et al. Erdafitinib in locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2019;381:338–48.






[67] Dienstmann R, Rodon J, Prat A, Perez-Garcia J, Adamo B, Felip E, et al. Genomic aberrations in the FGFR pathway: opportunities for targeted therapies in solid tumors. Ann Oncol. 2014;25:55263.

[68] Gattineni J, Alphonse P, Zhang Q, Mathews N, Bates CM, Baum M. Regulation of renal phosphate transport by FGF23 is mediated by FGFR1 and FGFR4. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014;306:F3518.

[69] Kim RD, Sarker D, Meyer T, Yau T, Macarulla T, Park JW, et al. First-in-human phase I study of fisogatinib (BLU-554) validates aberrant fibroblast growth factor 19 signaling as a driver event in hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Discov. 2019. pii: CD-19-0555.

[70] Han X, Yang J, Li L, Huang J, King G, Quarles LD. Conditional deletion of Fgfr1 in the proximal and distal tubule identifies distinct roles in phosphate and calcium transport. PLoS One. 2016;11(2):e0147845.

[71] Facchinetti F, Hollebecque A, Bahleda R, Loriot Y, Olaussen KA, Massard C, et al. Facts and new hopes on selective FGFR inhibitors in solid tumors. Clin Cancer Res. 2019. pii: clincanres.2035.2019. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-2035.

[72] Huang WS, Metcalf CA, Sundaramoorthi R, Wang Y, Zou D, Thomas RM, et al.


Discovery of 3-[2-(imidazo[1,2-b]pyridazin-3-yl)ethynyl]-4-methyl-N-{4-[(4-methylpiperazin-1- yl)methyl]-3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl}benzamide (AP24534), a potent, orally active pan- inhibitor of Breakpoint Cluster Region-Abelson (BCR-ABL) kinase including the T315I gatekeeper mutant. J Med Chem. 2010;53:4701–19.

[73] Müller MC, Cervantes F, Hjorth-Hansen H, Janssen JJWM, Milojkovic D, Rea D, et al. Ponatinib in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): Consensus on patient treatment and management from a European expert panel. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2017;120:52–9.






[74] Jabbour E, Kantarjian H. Chronic myeloid leukemia: 2018 update on diagnosis, therapy and monitoring. Am J Hematol. 2018;93:442–59.

[75] Katoh M. FGFR inhibitors: Effects on cancer cells, tumor microenvironment and whole- body homeostasis (Review). Int J Mol Med. 2016l;38:3–15.

[76] Tucker JA, Klein T, Breed J, Breeze AL, Overman R, Phillips C, et al. Structural insights into FGFR kinase isoform selectivity: diverse binding modes of AZD4547 and ponatinib in complex with FGFR1 and FGFR4. Structure. 2014;22:1764–74.

[77] Lesca E, Lammens A, Huber R, Augustin M. Structural analysis of the human fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 kinase. J Mol Biol. 2014;426:3744–56.

[78] Huang Z, Tan L, Wang H, Liu Y, Blais S, Deng J, et al. DFG-out mode of inhibition by an irreversible type-1 inhibitor capable of overcoming gate-keeper mutations in FGF receptors. ACS Chem Biol. 2015;10:299-309.

[79] Bunney TD, Wan S, Thiyagarajan N, Sutto L, Williams SV, Ashford P, et al. The effect of mutations on drug sensitivity and kinase activity of fibroblast growth factor receptors: a combined experimental and theoretical study. EBioMedicine. 2015;2:194–204.

[80] Klein T, Vajpai N, Phillips JJ, Davies G, Holdgate GA, Phillips C, et al. Structural and dynamic insights into the energetics of activation loop rearrangement in FGFR1 kinase. Nat Commun. 2015;6:7877.

[81] Sohl CD, Ryan MR, Luo B, Frey KM, Anderson KS. Illuminating the molecular mechanisms of tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance for the FGFR1 gatekeeper mutation: the Achilles’ heel of targeted therapy. ACS Chem Biol. 2015;10:1319–29.

[82] Van Cutsem E, Bang YJ, Mansoor W, Petty RD, Chao Y, Cunningham D, et al. A randomized, open-label study of the efficacy and safety of AZD4547 monotherapy versus






paclitaxel for the treatment of advanced gastric adenocarcinoma with FGFR2 polysomy or gene amplification. Ann Oncol. 2017;28:1316–24.

[83] Nakanishi Y, Akiyama N, Tsukaguchi T, Fujii T, Sakata K, Sase H, et al. The fibroblast growth factor receptor genetic status as a potential predictor of the sensitivity to CH5183284/Debio 1347, a novel selective FGFR inhibitor. Mol Cancer Ther. 2014;13:2547–58.

[84] Ebiike H, Taka N, Matsushita M, Ohmori M, Takami K, Hyohdoh I, et al. Discovery of [5- amino-1-(2-methyl-3H-benzimidazol-5-yl)pyrazol-4-yl]-(1H-indol-2-yl)methanone (CH5183284/Debio 1347), an orally available and selective fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor. J Med Chem. 2016;59:10586–600.

[85] Guagnano V, Furet P, Spanka C, Bordas V, Le Douget M, Stamm C, et al. Discovery of 3- (2,6-dichloro-3,5-dimethoxy-phenyl)-1-{6-[4-(4-ethyl-piperazin-1-yl)-phenylamino]-pyrimidin- 4-yl}-1-methyl-urea (NVP-BGJ398), a potent and selective inhibitor of the fibroblast growth factor receptor family of receptor tyrosine kinase. J Med Chem. 2011;54:7066–83.

[86] Nogova L, Sequist LV, Perez Garcia JM, Andre F, Delord JP, Hidalgo M, et al. Evaluation of BGJ398, a fibroblast growth factor receptor 1-3 kinase inhibitor, in patients with advanced solid tumors harboring genetic alterations in fibroblast growth factor receptors: results of a global phase I, dose-escalation and dose-expansion study. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35:157–65.

[87] Zschäbitz S, Grüllich C. Lenvantinib: a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of VEGFR 1-3, FGFR 1-4, PDGFRα, KIT and RET. Recent Results Cancer Res 2018;211:187–98.

[88] Yamamoto Y, Matsui J, Matsushima T, Obaishi H, Miyazaki K, Nakamura K, et al. Lenvatinib, an angiogenesis inhibitor targeting VEGFR/FGFR, shows broad antitumor activity in human tumor xenograft models associated with microvessel density and pericyte coverage. Vasc Cell. 2014;6:18.






[89] Matsuki M, Hoshi T, Yamamoto Y, Ikemori-Kawada M, Minoshima Y, Funahashi Y, et al. Lenvatinib inhibits angiogenesis and tumor fibroblast growth factor signaling pathways in human hepatocellular carcinoma models. Cancer Med. 2018;7:2641–53.

[90] Zhao G, Li WY, Chen D, Henry JR, Li HY, Chen Z, et al. A novel, selective inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor receptors that shows a potent broad spectrum of antitumor activity in several tumor xenograft models. Mol Cancer Ther. 2011;10:2200-10.

[91] Wu D, Guo M, Philips MA, Qu L, Jiang L, Li J, et al. Crystal structure of the FGFR4/LY2874455 complex reveals insights into the pan-FGFR selectivity of LY2874455. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0162491.

[92] Michael M, Bang YJ, Park YS, Kang YK, Kim TM, Hamid O, et al. A phase 1 study


of LY2874455, an oral selective pan-FGFR inhibitor, in patients with advanced cancer. Target Oncol. 2017;12:46374.

[93] Zhou Y, Chen Y, Tong L, Xie H, Wen W, Zhang J, et al. AL3810, a multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor, exhibits potent anti-angiogenic and anti-tumour activity via targeting VEGFR, FGFR and PDGFR. J Cell Mol Med. 2012;16:2321-30.

[94] Kalyukina M, Yosaatmadja Y, Middleditch MJ, Patterson AV, Smaill JB, Squire CJ. TAS- 120 cancer target binding: defining reactivity and revealing the first fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) irreversible structure. ChemMedChem. 2019;14:494–500.

[95] Goyal L, Shi L, Liu LY, Fece de la Cruz F, Lennerz JK, Raghavan S, et al. TAS-120 overcomes resistance to ATP-competitive FGFR inhibitors in patients with FGFR2 fusion- positive intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer Discov. 2019;9:1064–79.

[96] Weiss A, Adler F, Buhles A, Stamm C, Fairhurst RA, Kiffe M, et al. FGF401, a first-in- class highly selective and potent FGFR4 inhibitor for the treatment of FGF19-driven






hepatocellular cancer. Mol Cancer Ther. 2019. pii: molcanther.1291.2018. doi: 10.1158/1535- 7163.MCT-18-1291.

[97] Zhou Z, Chen X, Fu Y, Zhang Y, Dai S, Li J, et al. Characterization of FGF401 as a reversible covalent inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor receptor 4. Chem Commun (Camb). 2019;55:5890–3.

[98] Joshi JJ, Coffey H, Corcoran E, Tsai J, Huang CL, Ichikawa K, et al. H3B-6527 is a potent and selective inhibitor of FGFR4 in FGF19-driven hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Res. 2017;77:6999–7013.

[99] Roth GJ, Heckel A, Colbatzky F, Handschuh S, Kley J, Lehmann-Lintz T, et al. Design, synthesis, and evaluation of indolinones as triple angiokinase inhibitors and the discovery of a highly specific 6-methoxycarbonyl-substituted indolinone (BIBF 1120). J Med Chem. 2009;52:4466–80.

[100] Terzyan SS, Shen T, Liu X, Huang Q, Teng P, Zhou M, et al. Structural basis of resistance of mutant RET protein-tyrosine kinase to its inhibitors nintedanib and vandetanib. J Biol Chem. 2019;294:10428–37.

[101] Harris PA, Boloor A, Cheung M, Kumar R, Crosby RM, Davis-Ward RG, et al. Discovery of 5-[[4-[(2,3-dimethyl-2H-indazol-6-yl)methylamino]-2-pyrimidinyl]amino]-2-methyl- benzenesulfonamide (pazopanib), a novel and potent vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitor. J Med Chem. 2008;51:4632–40.

[102] Chauvin C, Leruste A, Tauziede-Espariat A, Andrianteranagna M, Surdez D, Lescure A, et al. High-throughput drug screening identifies pazopanib and clofilium tosylate as promising treatments for malignant rhabdoid tumors. Cell Rep. 2017;21:1737–45.






[103] Dai S, Zhou Z, Chen Z, Xu G, Chen Y. Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs): structures and small molecule inhibitors. Cells. 2019;8. pii: E614.

[104] Collin MP, Lobell M, Hübsch W, Brohm D, Schirok H, Jautelat R, et al. Discovery of rogaratinib (BAY 1163877): a pan-FGFR inhibitor. ChemMedChem. 2018;13:437–45.

[105] Schuler M, Cho BC, Sayehli CM, Navarro A, Soo RA, Richly H, et al. Rogaratinib in patients with advanced cancers selected by FGFR mRNA expression: a phase 1 dose-escalation and dose-expansion study. Lancet Oncol. 2019;20:1454–66.

[106] Hatlen MA, Schmidt-Kittler O, Sherwin CA, Rozsahegyi E, Rubin N, Sheets MP, et al. Acquired on-target clinical resistance validates FGFR4 as a driver of hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Discov. 2019. pii: CD-19-0367.

[107] Brameld KA, Owens TD, Verner E, Venetsanakos E, Bradshaw JM, Phan VT, et al. Discovery of the irreversible covalent FGFR inhibitor 8-(3-(4-acryloylpiperazin-1-yl)propyl)-6- (2,6-dichloro-3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-2-(methylamino)pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidin-7(8H)-one (PRN1371) for the treatment of solid tumors. J Med Chem. 2017;60:6516–27.

[108] Roskoski R Jr. The role of small molecule platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) inhibitors in the treatment of neoplastic disorders. Pharmacol Res. 2018;129:65–83.

[109] Laederich MB, Horton WA. Achondroplasia: pathogenesis and implications for future treatment. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2010;22:516–23.

[110] Tavormina PL, Shiang R, Thompson LM, Zhu YZ, Wilkin DJ, Lachman RS, et al. Thanatophoric dysplasia (types I and II) caused by distinct mutations in fibroblast growth factor receptor 3. Nat Genet. 1995;9:321–8.






[111] Rai R, Iwanaga J, Dupont G, Oskouian RJ, Loukas M, Oakes WJ, et al. Pfeiffer type


2 syndrome: review with updates on its genetics and molecular biology. Childs Nerv Syst. 2019. doi: 10.1007/s00381-019-04082-7.

[112] Roskoski R Jr. A historical overview of protein kinases and their targeted small molecule inhibitors. Pharmacol Res. 2015;100:1–23.

[113] Goyal L, Saha SK, Liu LY, Siravegna G, Leshchiner I, Ahronian LG, et al. Polyclonal secondary FGFR2 mutations drive acquired resistance to FGFR inhibition in patients with FGFR2 fusion-positive cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer Discov. 2017;7:252–63.

[114] Kanev GK, de Graaf C, de Esch IJP, Leurs R, Würdinger T, Westerman BA, et al. The landscape of atypical and eukaryotic protein kinases. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2019. pii: S0165- 6147(19)302135.

[115] Nadal R, Bellmunt J. Management of metastatic bladder cancer. Cancer Treat Rev. 2019;76:1021.

[116] Amable L. Cisplatin resistance and opportunities for precision medicine. Pharmacol Res. 2016;106:27–36.

[117] Giacomini A, Chiodelli P, Matarazzo S, Rusnati M, Presta M, Ronca R. Blocking the FGF/FGFR system as a “two-compartment” antiangiogenic/antitumor approach in cancer therapy. Pharmacol Res. 2016;107:172–85.

[118] Roskoski R Jr. Guidelines for preparing color figures for everyone including the colorblind. Pharmacol Res 2017;119:240–1. Erratum in: Pharmacol Res 2019;139:569.






Figure legends




Fig. 1. FGFR overall structure and isoforms produced by alternative pre-mRNA splicing. D1, immunoglobulin-like domain 1; TM, transmembrane segment; GRL, glycine-rich loop; CL, catalytic loop; AS, activation segment.

Fig. 2. Fibroblast growth factors bind to the D2-D3 domains of their receptors. (A) FGF-FGFR- heparan-sulfate complexes. (B) FGF-FGFR-αKlotho complexes. KL1 and KL2 are the major components of Klotho.

Fig. 3. Structures of active (A) and inactive (C, E) FGFRs along with the depiction of their corresponding catalytic and regulatory spines and shell residues (B, D, and F). AS, activation segment; CL, catalytic loop; CS1, catalytic spine residue-1; KID, kinase insert domain; RS2, regulatory spine residue-2; Sh3, shell residue-3.

Fig. 4. Inferred mechanism of the FGFR2-catalyzed protein kinase reaction. HRD-D626


abstracts a proton from the peptidyl tyrosyl substrate allowing for its nucleophilic attack onto the γ-phosphorus atom of ATP. 1 and 2 label the two Mg2+ ions shown as dots. The chemistry occurs within the circle. AS, activation segment; CL, catalytic loop; The figure was prepared from PDB ID: 2pvf.

Fig. 5. Superposition of active (blue, PDB ID: 3gqi) and dormant activation segments (cyan, PDB ID: 1fgk) of FGFR1. The activation segment of the functional enzyme is extended toward the right in an open conformation and that of the dormant enzyme is in a closed conformation. AS, activation segment; CL, catalytic loop.

Fig. 6. (A) Hydrogen bonding pattern of the autoinhibitory brake in FGFR1. (B) Hydrogen bonding of a disengaged brake in the active form of FGFR1. (C) Superposition of the brake






residues in the inactive (gray residues) and active (blue residues) forms of FGFR1. The dashed lines represent hydrogen bonds. AS, activation segment; GRL, glycine-rich loop.

Fig. 7. Location of the protein kinase domain drug-binding pockets. AP, adenine pocket; BP, back pocket; FP, front pocket; Hn, hinge; HPII, hydrophobic pocket II; GK, gatekeeper. Adapted from Refs. [42,62].

Fig. 8. Structures of selected fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibitors Fig. 9. Structures of reversible drug-FGFR complexes.

Fig. 10. Structures of covalent drug-FGFR complexes


Fig. 11. Shared interactions of drugs with fibroblast growth factor receptors. The amino acid residues that are colored yellow are on this side of the drug, the gray residues are on the other side of the drug, and the cyan residues are below the drug (AZD4547). Prepared from PDB ID: 4rwj.








Fig 1

















Fig 2

















Fig 3

















Fig 4

















Fig 5

















Fig 6

















Fig 7

















Fig 8

















Fig 9

















Fig 10

















Fig 11

















Table 1

Fibroblast growth factor and fibroblast growth factor receptor properties and interactions


Name Symbol Resid




Uniprot KB ID Comments
Fibroblast growth factors
Fibroblast growth factor 1 FGF1 155 17.5 P05230 Acidic FGF; interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4
Fibroblast growth factor 2 FGF2 288 30.7 P09038 Basic FGF; interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4
Fibroblast growth factor 3 FGF3 239 26.9 P11487 Interacts with FGFR1/2
Fibroblast growth factor 4 FGF4 239 22.0 P08620 Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4
Fibroblast growth factor 5 FGF5 268 29.5 P12034 Interacts with FGFR1/2
Fibroblast growth factor 6 FGF6 208 22.9 P10767 Interacts with FGFR1/2/4
Fibroblast growth factor 7 FGF7 194 22.5 P21781 Interacts with FGFR2/4
Fibroblast growth factor 8 FGF8 233 26.5 P55075 Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4; androgen-induced growth factor
Fibroblast growth factor 9 FGF9 208 23.4 P31371 Interacts with FGFR2/3/4; glia- activating factor
Fibroblast growth factor 10 FGF10 208 23.4 O15520 Interacts with FGFR1/2
Fibroblast growth factor 11 FGF11 225 25.0 Q92914 FGF homologous factor 3; nervous system function
Fibroblast growth factor 12 FGF12 243 27.4 P61328 FGF homologous factor 1; nervous system function, cytosolic and nuclear localization
Fibroblast growth factor 13 FGF13 245 27.6 Q92913 FGF homologous factor 2; nervous system function, nuclear localization
Fibroblast growth factor 14 FGF14 247 27.7 Q92915 FGF homologous factor 4; nervous system function, nuclear localization
Fibroblast growth factor 15 FGF15/


216 24.0 O95750 Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4 and β-Klotho; 15/19 are the same
Fibroblast growth factor 16 FGF16 207 23.8 O43320 Interacts with FGFR2/3/4; S111 is phosphorylated
Fibroblast growth factor 17 FGF17 216 24.9 O60258 Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4







Fibroblast growth factor 18 FGF18 207 24.0 O76093 Interacts with FGFR2/3/4
Fibroblast growth factor 19 FGF15/


216 24.0 O95750 Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4; 15/19 are the same
Fibroblast growth factor 20 FGF20 211 23.5 Q9NP9


Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4
Fibroblast growth factor 21 FGF21 209 22.3 Q9NSA


Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4 and β-Klotho
Fibroblast growth factor 22 FGF22 170 19.7 Q9HCT


Interacts with FGFR1/2
Fibroblast growth factor 23 FGF23 251 28.0 Q9GZV


Interacts with FGFR1/2/3/4 and α-Klotho; hypophosphatemia- inducing factor
Fibroblast growth factor receptors
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 FGFR1


822 91.9 P11362- 1 &

P11362- 19

FGF16/8/10/17/1923; isoforms IIIb & IIIc;
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 FGFR2 821/8


92.0/9 2.0 P21802- 1 &

P21802- 3

FGF1–10/16–23; isoforms IIIb

& IIIc

Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 FGFR3 806/8


87.7/8 8.2 P22607- 1 &

P22607- 2

FGF1/2/4/8/9/1621/23; isoforms IIIb & IIIc
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 FGFR4 802 88.0 P22455 FGF1/2/4/69/1621/23; one isoform
Fibroblast growth factor receptor like FGFRL


504 54.5 Q8N44


No protein kinase domain



a Data from UniprotKB and Ref. [1].







Table 2


Important residues in human FGFR receptors


Number of residues 822 821 806 802
Signal peptide 1–21 1–21 1–22 1–21
Extracellular segment 22–376 22–377 23–375 22–369
Ig-like domain 1 (D1) 25–119 25–125 24–126 22–118
Acid box 126–138 132–142 132–143 126–129
Ig-like domain 2 (D2) 158–246 154–247 151–244 152–240
Ig-like domain 3 (D3) 255–357 256–358 253–355 249–349
Transmembrane segment 377–397 378–398 376–396 370–390
Intracellular segment 398–822 399–821 397–806 391–802
Protein kinase domain 478–767 481–770 472–761 467–755
Glycine-rich loop 485–490 GEGCFG 488–493 GEGCFG 479–484 GEGCFG 474–480 GEGCFG
The K of K/E/D/D, or the β3- lysine 514 517 508 503
β3-AVK 512–514 515–517 506–508 501–503
Molecular brake triad N546, E562, K638 N549, E565, K641 N540, E556, K632 N535, E551, K627
αC-E residue 531 534 525 520
Hinge residues 562–568 EYASKGN 565–571 EYASKGN 556–562 EYAAKGN 551–557 ECAAKGN







Gatekeeper residue V561 V564 V555 V550
Catalytic HRD residue, the first D of K/E/D/D 623 626 617 612
Catalytic loop N (HRD(x)4N 628 631 622 617
Activation segment DFG, the second D of K/E/D/D 641 644 635 630
Activation segment tyrosine phosphorylation sites Y653/4 Y656/7 Y647/8 Y642/3
End of the activation segment, APE 668–670 671–673 662–664 657–659
Molecular weight (kDa) 91.9 92.0 87.7 87.9
UniProtKB ID P11362 P21802 P22607 P22455








Table 3



Human FGFR1–4 residues that form the R-spine, C-spine and Shell


Regulatory spine
β4-strand (N-lobe) RS4 38 L547 L550 L541 L536
C-helix (N-lobe) RS3 28 M535 M538 M529 M524
Activation loop (C-lobe) F of DFG RS2 82 F642 F645 F636 F631
Catalytic loop His (C-lobe) RS1 68 H621 H624 H615 H610
F-helix (C-lobe) RS0 None D682 D685 D676 D671
Two residues upstream from the gatekeeper Sh3 43 V559 V562 V553 V548
Gatekeeper, end of β5-strand Sh2 45 V561 V564 V555 V550
αC-β4 loop Sh1 36 I545 I548 I539 I534
Catalytic spine
β3-AxK motif (N-lobe) CS8 15 A512 A515 A506 A501
β2-strand (N-lobe) CS7 11 V492 V495 V486 V481
β7-strand (C-lobe) CS6 77 L630 L633 L624 L619
β7-strand (C-lobe) CS5 78 V631 V634 V625 V620
β7-strand (C-lobe) CS4 76 V629 V632 V623 V618
D-helix (C-lobe) CS3 53 L569 L572 L563 L558
F-helix (C-lobe) CS2 None L689 L692 L683 L678
F-helix (C-lobe) CS1 None I693 I696 I687 I682

a From Ref. [42].






Table 4

Selected fibroblast growth factor receptor genomic alterations in human cancersa


    Approximate frequencies by FGFRb
Type of cancer Approximate prevalencec FGFR1 FGFR2 FGFR3 FGFR4
Urothelial bladder cancers 35% 14% 3% 19% 6%
Squamous cell lung carcinomas 27% 18% 4% 4% 2%
Uterine endometrial carcinomas 24% 7% 14% 5% 4%
Gastric adenocarcinomas 23% 6% 10% 4% 5%
Breast adenocarcinomas 20% 14% 3% 2% 2%
Melanomas 20% 5% 11% 5% 5%
Ovarian serous cystadenocarcinomas 20% 5% 4% 8% 4%
Head & neck squamous cell carcinomas 17% 10% 1% 4% 1%
Lung adenocarcinomas 14% 6% 4% 2% 4%
Prostate adenocarcinomas 11% 6% 3% 1% 1%
Colorectal adenocarcinomas 8% 5% 1% 1% 1%
Cholangiocarcinomas 7% 0.9% 6.1% 0% 0%
Glioblastomas 6% 0% 3% 2% 1%
Lower grade brain gliomas 5% 0% 3% 1% 1%



a Data from Ref. [1].

b Most of the studies included > 200 cases; analyses performed in 2014; values may not add up to approximate prevalence owing to rounding errors.

c Prevalence among all analyses performed on each particular neoplasm.






Table 5

Selected FGFR alterations in cancer


Malignancy Gene alterationa Location
Urothelial bladder cancers FGFR1 amplification  
  FGFR1-T141R Acid box–D2 linker
  FGFR1-NTM chimera  
  FGFR2-TACC3 chimera  
  FGFR3 amplification  
  FGFR3-131L Before the acid box
  FGFR3 R248C D2D3 linker
  FGFR3 S249C D2D3 linker
  FGFR3-G370C Before the transmembrane segment
  FGFR3 Y373C Before the transmembrane segment
  FGFR3 K650M Activation segment
  FGFR3 G818R Carboxyterminal tail
  FGFR3-TACC3 chimera  
  FGFR3-JAKMIP chimera  
  FGFR3-TNIP2 chimera  
  FGFR3-ADD1 chimera  
Breast cancers FGFR1 amplification  
  FGFR2 amplification  
  FGFR2 S252W D2D3 linker
  FGFR2-NCALD chimera  
  FGFR4 amplification  
Endometrial uterine cancers FGFR2 amplification  
  FGFR2 T141R Acid box
  FGFR2 P253R D2D3 linker
  FGFR2 C382R Transmembrane segment
  FGFR2-N549K Back loop
  FGFR2-V677I Activation segment-αF loop
Lung cancers FGFR1 amplification  
  FGFR1 T141R Acid box–D2 linker
  FGFR2 A315C D3
  FGFR3 amplification  
  FGFR3 R248C D2D3 linker
  FGFR3 S249C D2D3 linker
  FGFR3 G370C Before transmembrane segment







  FGFR3 K560E Hinge
  FGFR4 amplification  
  FGFR4 R183S D2
Ovarian cancers FGFR1 amplification  
  FGFR2 amplification  
  FGFR2 S252W D2D3 linker
  FGFR3 amplification  
Stomach cancers FGFR1 amplification  
  FGFR2 amplification  
  FGFR2-TACC2 chimera  
  FGFR3 amplification  
  FGFR3 R399C Intracellular juxtamembrane segment
Cholangiocarcinomas FGFR2 amplification  
  FGFR2 C382R Transmembrane segment
Gliomas FGFR1 N546K αC-β4 loop brake residue
  FGFR1-K656E Activation segment
  FGFR3 amplification  
  FGFR3 K650E Activation segment
  FGFR3-TACC3 chimera  
Sarcomas FGFR1 amplification  
  FGFR1 N546K αC-β4 loop brake residue
  FGFR2 amplification  
  FGFR2 N549K αC-β4 loop brake residue
  FGFR3 R248C D2D3 linker
  FGFR3 E627K β6-β7 loop



a Data from Ref. [48].






Table 6

Selected fibroblast growth factor genomic alterations in human cancers a


Type of cancer Approximate prevalence c Approximate (%) prevalence by FGF b
Head & neck squamous cell carcinomas 54% FGF3/4/19/12/10/23 (28/28/28/19/6/5)
Urothelial bladder cancers 47% FGF3/4/19/17/10/20 (13/12/13/11/9/9)
Gastric cancers 47% FGF3/4/19/10/12/13/14/17 (7/7/7/9/8/6/5/5)
Lung, squamous cell carcinomas 46% FGF3/4/19/12/10 (12/12/13/25/7)
Cervical cancers 42% FGF12 (25)
Lung, adenocarcinomas 39% FGF10/17/20 (11/7/7) d
Melanomas 38% FGF3/4/19 (8/6/6)
Ovarian cystadenocarcinomas 38% FGF3/4/19/6/23/12 (5/4/4/5/6/13)
Breast adenocarcinomas 35% FGF3/4/19/17/20 (15/15/15/6/5) e
Adenoid cystic carcinomas 27% FGF22 (10) all others 5% or less
Prostate adenocarcinomas 22% FGF17/20 (8/5) f
Colorectal adenocarcinomas 17% All 5% or less h



a Data from Ref. [1].

b Most of the studies included at least five cases with the alteration; analyses performed in 2014; values may not add up to approximate prevalence owing to high frequency of duplicate-triplicate changes in a single sample and to rounding errors.

c Prevalence among all analyses performed on each particular neoplasm; most alterations are due to gene amplification.

d FGF17/20 mostly deletions.

e High frequency of FGF3/4/19 co-amplification.

f Majority are deletions. h Majority are mutations.






Table 7

Location of selected catalytic cleft residues


Description Location KLIFS residue no.a
GxGxΦG Front cleft 4–9
β2-strand V (CS7) Front cleft 11
β3-strand A (CS8) Front cleft 15
HRD with DFG-Din Front cleft 68–70
HRD(x)4N-N Front cleft 75
β7-strand CS6 Front cleft 77
β3-strand K; three residues before the αC-helix Gate area 17
αC-β4 penultimate back loop residue Gate area 36
Gatekeeper Gate area 45
The x of xDFG Gate area 80
DFG Gate area 81–83
αC-helix E Back cleft 24
RS3 Back cleft 28
HRD with DFG-Dout Back cleft 68–70

a Ref. [42].













Table 8

Properties of selected orally effective small molecule FGFR family inhibitors


Name (code) trade name Targets PubChe m


Formula D/











er Pic

FDA-approved indications (year) or clinical trial studies (clinicaltrials.go v)d
Reversible inhibitors with drug-FGFR X-ray crystal structures
Erdafitinib (JNJ- 42756493) Balversa FGFR1/2/3

/4, VEFGR2

674627 86 C25H30N6O


1/7Pre-proof 446 3.


Yes First-line FGFR mutant urinary bladder cancers (2019); second- line metastatic or unresectable urinary bladder cancers (2019). A total of 18 clinical trials targeting HCC, breast cancers, lymphomas, multiple myelomas.
Ponatinib (AP24534) Iclusig FGFR1/2/3Journal

/4, Abl, PDGFα/β, RET, Kit, CSF1R, Flt3, VEGFR1/2


248267 99 C29H27F3N6 O 1/8 532




No Philadelphia chromosome positive CML and ALL (2012). A total of 57 clinical trials including 2 targeting FGFR dysregulation. Other targets include head &

neck cancers and NSCLC.

Dovitinib (CHIR 258, TKI 258) FGFR1/3, VEGFR1/2

/3, PDGFRβ, Kit, RET

135398 510 C21H21FN6 O 3/6 392 1.


No A total of 48 trials targeting multiple myeloma and solid tumors including urinary bladder







                cancer, GIST, kidney, stomach, adrenal cortical, colorectal, pancreatic, breast, prostate,

thyroid, hepatic, and head & neck cancers, NSCLC and glioblastoma

(AZD4547 ) FGFR1/2/3

/, VEFGR2, CSF1R, Kit

510390 95 C26H33N5O


3/6 464 3.


Yes A total of 15 clinical trials targeting NSCLC, squamous cell lung, breast, stomach, and bladder cancers, lymphomas, and myelomas.
(CH51832 84; Debio 1347) FGFR1/2/3 665556 80 C20H16N6O 3/4 356 3.




A total of 3 trials targeting breast cancer and advanced solid tumors.
Infigratinib (BGJ398) FGFR1/2/3Journal 532355 10 C26H31Cl2 N7O3 2/8 561 4.


Yes Of 15 trials, a total of 6 are examining FGFR dysregulation including those targeting advanced solid tumors, cholangiocarcin omas, and head

& neck carcinomas.

Lenvatinib (E7080) Lenvima FGFR1/2/3

, VEGFR1/2

/3, RET, Kit

982382 0 C21H19N4C lO4 3/5 427 2.


No Differentiated thyroid cancers (2015).  A total of 121 clinical trials for advanced solid







                tumors, HCC, RCC, melanomas, breast cancers, sarcomas, thyroid cancers, endometrial cancers, and rectal cancers; one trial examining FGFR dysregulation in advanced cancers.
(LY287445 5) FGFR1/2/3


469442 59 C21H19Cl2 N5O2 2/5 444 3.


Yes Only 2 clinical trials (AML and advanced cancers) with the latter examining FGFR dysregulation (NCT01212107)


Lucitanib (E-3810) FGFR1,Journal

VEGFR1/2 , PDGFRα/β ,Src

250319 15 C26H25N3O


2/6 443




No A total of 31 trials targeting solid tumors, breast cancer, gastric or duodenal ulcers, and dyspepsia with 3 trials targeting FGFR genetic alterations.
Irreversible inhibitors with drug-FGFR X-ray crystal structures
Futibatinib (TAS- 120)e FGFR1/2/3


716213 31 C22H22N6O


1/7 418 2 Yes Of 4 clinical trials, two are directed against FGFR2 dysregulation in metastatic breast cancer and cholangiocarcin omas.







Roblitinib (FGF401)e FGFR4 118036 971 C25H30N8O


2/9 507 0.




Only 1 clinical trial targeting solid tumors with FGFR4 expression (NCT02325739)


(H3B- 6527)e FGFR4 118029 202 C29H34Cl2 N8O4 3/9 630 4.




Only 2 clinical trials with one targeting HCC.
Inhibitors without drug-FGFR X-ray crystal structures
Nintedanib (BIBF- 1120) Vargatef FGFR1, VEGFR2/3 , PDGFRα 135423 438 C31H33N5O


2/7Pre-proof 539




No Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (2014). A total of 152 trials with one targeting FGFR3 dysregulated urothelial cancers. Other targets include RCC, pancreatic, breast, thyroid, cervical, endometrial, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers and HCC and NSCLC.
Pazopanib (GW78603 4) Votrient FGFR1,Journal


/3, PDGFRβ, Kit

101139 78 C21H23N7O 2S 2/8 437




No RCC and soft tissue sarcomas (2009). A total of 304 trials including one targeting FGFR2 amplification in solid tumors (NCT02450136)

. Others are targeting sarcomas, melanomas and







                RCC, breast, ovarian, bladder, stomach, and prostate cancers, NSCLC, GIST, and glioblastomas.
Pemigatini b (INCB054 828) FGFR1/2/3


867056 95 C24H27F2N5 O4 1/8


488 1.




A total of 13 clinical trials targeting myeloid neoplasms, urinary bladder cancers, advanced solid tumors, cholangiocarcin omas, and

AML. Five trials are targeting FGFR alterations.

Rogaratini b (BAY 1163877) FGFR1/2/3


716118 69 C23H26N6O 3S 2/8 467 1.


Yes A total of 8 clinical trials targeting urinary bladder cancer, NSCLC, and other solid tumors. Three trials are targeting FGFR alterations.
Fisogatinib (BLU- 554)e FGFR4 918856 17 C24H24Cl2 N4O4 2/7 503 4.


No A single clinical trial targeting hepatocellular carcinomas (NCT02508467)





/4, CSF1R

118295 624 C26H30Cl2 N6O4 1/8 562 3.




A single clinical trial targeting bladder cancer (NCT02608125)










b No. of hydrogen bond donors/acceptors

c Produces hyperphosphatemia; Unkn, unknown

d ALL; acute lymphoblastic leukemias; AML, acute myeloid leukemias; CML, chronic myelogenous leukemias; GIST, gastrointestinal stromal tumors; HCC, hepatocellular carcinomas, NSCLC, non-small cell lung cancers, RCC, renal cell cancers

eType VI covalent inhibitor








Table 9

Specificities of FGFR protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors with IC50 values in nM


FGFR1/2/3 inhibitors
AZD4547 0.2 1.8 2.5 165 24
Debio1347 9.3 7.6 22 290 2100
Infigratinib 0.9 1.4 1.0 60 180
Pemigatinib 0.4 0.5 1.2 30 ?
FGFR4 inhibitors
Roblitiniba 2 >104 >104 >104 >104
H3B-6527a 320 1290 1060 1.2 ?
Fisogatiniba 506 801 1540 4 ?
Pan-FGFR inhibitors
Erdafitinib 2.0 2.0 4.0 6.3 50
Futibatiniba 3.9 1.3 1.6 8.3 ?
LY2874455 2.8 2.6 6.4 6.0 5
Rogaratinib 12 1 19 33 120
PRN1371a 0.6 1.3 4.1 19.2 ?
Multi-kinase inhibitors
Dovitinib 10 400 3.2 4000 20
Lenvatinib 22 8.2 15 14 0.74
Lucitanib 7 ? ? ? 2.4
Nintedanib 38 ? ? ? 5
Pazopanib 84 ? ? ? 30
Ponatinib 2.2 1.6 18.2 7.7 1.5

a Covalent inhibitor






Table 10

Human drug-enzyme hydrophobic (Φ) interactions using their designated KLIFS residue numbersa


  PDB ID RS1 RS2 RS3 Sh1 Sh2 Sh3 CS6 CS7 CS8 KLIFS-3
KLIFS no.    68 82 28 36 45 43 77 11 15 3
Erdafitinib-FGFR1 5ew8   Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ
Ponatinib-FGFR4 4uxq,



Dovitinib-FGFR1 5am6       Φ Φ   Φ Φ Φ Φ
Dovitinib-mutant FGFR1 5am7       Φ Φ   Φ Φ Φ Φ
AZD4547-FGFR1 4rwj   Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ
AZD4547-mutant FGFR1 4rwk       Φ Φ   Φ Φ Φ Φ
CH5183284-FGFR1 5b7v   Φ Φ Φ Φ   Φ Φ Φ Φ
Infigratinib-FGFR1 3tt0   Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ
Lenvatinib-FGFR1 5zv2   Φ Φ Φ Φ   Φ Φ Φ Φ
LY2874455-FGFR4 5jkg       Φ Φ   Φ Φ Φ Φ
Lucitanib-FGFR1 4rwl   Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ
Futibatinib-FGFR1 6mzw   Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ
Roblitinib-FGFR4 6jpj         Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ
H3B-6527-FGFR4 5vnd   Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ Φ


a KLIFS-3, kinase-ligand interaction fingerprint and structure residue-3; from

b F, front pocket; G, gate area; B, back pocket






Table 11

Growth factor families


Growth factor receptors [reference] Growth factors
Kit [34] Stem cell factor (SCF)
PDGFRα/β [108] PDGF-A/B/C/D
VEGFR1/2/3 [39] VEGF-A/B/C/D, placental growth factor (PlGF)
ErbB1/2/3/4 [29,30] a EGF, epigen (EPG), transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α), amphiregulin (AR), betacellulin (BTC), heparin-binding epidermal growth-factor like growth factor (HB-EGF), epiregulin (EPR), neuregulin-1/2/3/4 (Nrg-1/2/3/4)

a Members of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family











Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>