Fibroblast growth factors and their receptors play an important role in maintaining metabolic homeostasis also in the liver and disorders in signalling what have been identified to contribute to those pathophysiologic conditions leading to hepatic lipid accumulation and chronic inflammation.
While specific and well tolerated inhibitors of fibroblast growth factor receptor activity are currently developed for (non-liver) cancer therapy, treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is still limited. Fibroblast growth factor-mimicking or restoring approaches have recently evolved as a novel therapeutic option, reviewed by Matthias Ocker (Department of Gastroenterology, Charité University Medicine Berlin).
Specific Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 inhibitors are currently tested in clinical trials in HCC. The positive preclinical results are reflected in encouraging early clinical data. Yet, the overall efficacy of these compounds needs to be carefully investigated compared to current multi-kinase inhibitors and the emerging immune checkpoint inhibitors.