Epidermal growth factor receptor mutations in lung cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2007 Mar;7(3):169-81. doi: 10.1038/nrc2088.


The development and clinical application of inhibitors that target the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) provide important insights for new lung cancer therapies, as well as for the broader field of targeted cancer therapies. We review the results of genetic, biochemical and clinical studies focused on somatic mutations of EGFR that are associated with the phenomenon of oncogene addiction, describing 'oncogenic shock' as a mechanistic explanation for the apoptosis that follows the acute treatment of susceptible cells with kinase inhibitors. Understanding the genetic heterogeneity of epithelial tumours and devising strategies to circumvent their rapid acquisition of resistance to targeted kinase inhibitors are essential to the successful use of targeted therapies in common epithelial cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / physiology
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors