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The Role of EGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in the First-Line Treatment of Advanced Non Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients Harboring EGFR Mutation

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Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Among lung cancers, 80% are classified as nonsmall- cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and are mostly diagnosed at an advanced stage (either locally advanced or metastatic disease). In the last years, the discovery of the pivotal role in tumorigenesis of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) has provided a new class of targeted therapeutic agents: the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs). Since the first reports of an association between somatic mutations in EGFR exons 19 and 21 and response to EGFR-TKIs, treatment of advanced NSCLC has changed dramatically. Histologic profile, clinical characteristics, and mutational profile of lung carcinoma have all been reported as predictive factors of response to EGFR-TKIs and other targeted therapies. In advanced NSCLC patients harboring EGFR mutations, the use of EGFR TKIs in first-line treatment has provided an unusually large progression-free survival (PFS) benefit with a negligible toxicity when compared with cytotoxic chemotherapy in phase III randomized trials. Considering the findings regarding the excellent benefit and better safety profile of EGFR TKIs in EGFR mutation positive patients, these targeted therapeutic agents can be now considered as first-line treatment in this setting of patients. This review will discuss the new evidences in the role of EGFR-TKIs in the first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC and their implication in the current clinical decision-making.
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Keywords: Acquired resistance; advanced NSCLC; epidermal growth factor mutation; erlotinib; first-line treatment; fluorescence in situ hybridization; gefitinib; immunohistochemistry; mutation detection; polymerase chain reaction; primary resistance; targeted therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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