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Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2006 Jun;6(4):271-94.

Targeted therapies in non-small cell lung cancer: proven concepts and unfulfilled promises.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria.


Targeted therapies focus on signaling pathways in cancer cells and other molecular processes involved in oncogenesis. Recent approaches affect the following major groups: the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-family, angiogenesis, the eicosanoid pathway, the PKC/ Ras/ MAPK pathway, the proteasome and inducers of apoptosis. Numerous phase I and II trials have provided promising results and recently, anti-EGFR and anti-VEGF treatments have proven their efficacy in phase III trials. However, others failed in phase III settings (e.g. PKC- and matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors) and it is a moot point, whether patients have been selected properly. The huge amount of new medications raises questions like when to use which strategy in which sequence. The successful implementation of targeted agents into clinical routine will depend on the verification of sufficient predictive markers, allowing their economically reasonable usage. In the current review the up-to-date knowledge concerning targeted therapies in NSCLC is summarized and their therapeutical potential is discussed.

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