Nintedanib, a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for the treatment of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPK), inhibits both tyrosine kinase receptors and non-receptor kinases, and block activation of platelet-derived growth factor receptors, fibroblast growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors, and Src family kinases. Preclinical and clinical studies have revealed the potent anti-fibrotic effect of nintedanib in IPK in human and animal models. Recent preclinical studies have also demonstrated the inhibitory effect of nintedanib on the development and progression of tissue fibrosis in other organs, including liver, kidney, and skin. The anti-fibrotic actions of nintedanib occur through a number of mechanisms, including blocking differentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, inhibition of epithelial–mesenchymal transition, and suppression of inflammation and angiogenesis. In this article, we summarize the mechanisms and efficacy of nintedanib in the treatment of fibrotic diseases in animal models and clinical trials, provide an update on recent advances in the development of other novel antifibrotic agents in preclinical and clinical study, and offer our perspective about the possible clinical application of these agents in fibrotic diseases.

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