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Biochem Pharmacol. 2010 Sep 1;80(5):613-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2010.05.014. Epub 2010 May 24.

Targeting epidermal growth factor receptor: central signaling kinase in lung cancer.

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Department of Thoracic Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Platinum-based doublets remain the current standard therapy for advanced NSCLC. However, overall survival (OS) has reached a plateau, even with the improvement in these regimens. Advances in the knowledge of molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis have prompted the development of many novel molecular-targeted agents including the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs). Results of the recent phase III IPASS trial showed that the EGFR-TKI gefitinib has a superior progression-free survival (PFS) to the most commonly used platinum-based doublet carboplatin-paclitaxel as the first-line chemotherapy for pulmonary lung adenocarcinoma among nonsmokers in East Asia. This trial also demonstrated that the presence of EGFR mutation is the best predictor of gefitinib treatment compared with the other biomarkers including EGFR gene copy number. Despite the therapeutic benefit of EGFR-TKIs in NSCLC, most patients eventually develop resistance to these drugs. A secondary mutation of EGFR (T790M) and amplification of MET account for 70% of all cases of acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs. This review summarizes the significance of EGFR mutations and the mechanisms of resistance to EGFR-TKIs in NSCLC, both of which are critical for patient selection to extend survival as well as to overcome resistance in NSCLC patients treated with EGFR-TKIs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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