REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22

Targeted therapies in development for non-small cell lung cancer


1 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand; Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA
2 Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA

Correspondence Address:
Grace Kho Dy
Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1477-3163.123972

The iterative discovery in various malignancies during the past decades that a number of aberrant tumorigenic processes and signal transduction pathways are mediated by "druggable" protein kinases has led to a revolutionary change in drug development. In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the ErbB family of receptors (e.g., EGFR [epidermal growth factor receptor], HER2 [human epidermal growth factor receptor 2]), RAS (rat sarcoma gene), BRAF (v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1), MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) c-MET (c-mesenchymal-epithelial transition), FGFR (fibroblast growth factor receptor), DDR2 (discoidin domain receptor 2), PIK3CA (phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate3-kinase, catalytic subunit alpha)), PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog), AKT (protein kinase B), ALK (anaplastic lym phoma kinase), RET (rearranged during transfection), ROS1 (reactive oxygen species 1) and EPH (erythropoietin-producing hepatoma) are key targets of various agents currently in clinical development. These oncogenic targets exert their selective growth advantage through various intercommunicating pathways, such as through RAS/RAF/MEK, phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin and SRC-signal transduction and transcription signaling. The recent clinical studies, EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors and crizotinib were considered as strongly effective targeted therapies in metastatic NSCLC. Currently, five molecular targeted agents were approved for treatment of advanced NSCLC: Gefitinib, erlotinib and afatinib for positive EGFR mutation, crizotinib for positive echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-ALK translocation and bevacizumab. Moreover, oncogenic mutant proteins are subject to regulation by protein trafficking pathways, specifically through the heat shock protein 90 system. Drug combinations affecting various nodes in these signaling and intracellular processes are predicted and demonstrated to be synergistic and advantageous in overcoming treatment resistance compared with monotherapy approaches. Understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment in the development and maintenance of the malignant phenotype provided additional therapeutic approaches as well. More recently, improved knowledge on tumor immunology has set the stage for promising immunotherapies in NSCLC. This review will focus on the rationale for the development of targeted therapies in NSCLC and the various strategies employed in preventing or overcoming the inevitable occurrence of treatment resistance.


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