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J Clin Oncol. 2007 Feb 10;25(5):587-95.

Molecular predictors of response to epidermal growth factor receptor antagonists in non-small-cell lung cancer.

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Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


In the last 5 years the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has emerged as one of the most important targets for drug development in oncology. Monoclonal antibodies targeting the external domain of EGFR have been shown to have clinical benefit in colorectal and head and neck cancer when combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation. Small molecules that inhibit the tyrosine kinase (TK) domain of EGFR have become critical new weapons in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The discovery that mutations in the TK domain are associated with dramatic and sustained responses to EGFR TK inhibitors (TKIs) has allowed the design of trials to test these agents as potential first-line therapies and has provided a fascinating window into the future of genotype-directed targeted therapy. Recent advances in understanding the biologic basis of acquired resistance to these agents have great potential to improve the clinical effectiveness of this class of drugs. This review summarizes the biology of EGFR in NSCLC, the clinical and molecular predictors of benefit from treatment with EGFR TKIs, the use of patient-specific molecular profiling, and future directions of clinical and basic scientific research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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