Review Article

Known and putative mechanisms of resistance to EGFR targeted therapies in NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations—a review

Erin L. Stewart, Samuel Zhixing Tan, Geoffrey Liu, Ming-Sound Tsao


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in Canada with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) being the predominant form of the disease. Tumor characterization can identify cancerdriving mutations as treatment targets. One of the most successful examples of cancer targeted therapy is inhibition of mutated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which occurs in ~10-30% of NSCLC patients. While this treatment has benefited many patients with activating EGFR mutations, almost all who initially benefited will eventually acquire resistance. Approximately 50% of cases of acquired resistance (AR) are due to a secondary T790M mutation in exon 20 of the EGFR gene; however, many of the remaining mechanisms of resistance are still unknown. Much work has been done to elucidate the remaining mechanisms of resistance. This review aims to highlight both the mechanisms of resistance that have already been identified in patients and potential novel mechanisms identified in preclinical models which have yet to be validated in the patient settings.

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