Novel therapeutic targets in non-small cell lung cancer

J Thorac Oncol. 2011 Sep;6(9):1601-12. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e31822944b3.


The development of personalized medicine with a focus on novel targeted therapies has supplanted the one-size-fits-all approach to the treatment of many cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer. Targeted therapies, if given to a patient subpopulation enriched by the presence of relevant molecular targets, can often abrogate cell signaling that perpetuates cancer progression. Critical targets activating procancer pathways include, but are not limited to, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), hepatocyte growth factor receptor (MET), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF receptor, GTPase KRAS (KRAS), receptor tyrosine protein kinase erbB-2 (HER2), echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (EML4-ALK), phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha isoform (PIK3CA), serine/threonine-protein kinase B-raf (BRAF), and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R). Some target-directed therapies, such as epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors and anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody, have already been approved for clinical use. Others, such as those targeted to MET, VEGFR, HER2, PIK3CA, and IGF-1R, are in clinical testing. This review describes molecular targets in non-small cell lung cancer that are in development or being clinically applied and their implications for developing novel anticancer therapies for this previously refractory malignancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents