Non-small-cell lung cancer is often diagnosed at the metastatic stage, with median survival of just 1 year. The identification of driver mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as the primary oncogenic event in a subset of lung adenocarcinomas led to a model of targeted treatment and genetic profiling of the disease. EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors confer remission in 60% of patients, but responses are short-lived. The pre-existing EGFR Thr790Met mutation could be a subclonal driver responsible for these transient responses. Overexpression of AXL and reduced MED12 function are hallmarks of resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in EGFR-mutant non-small-cell lung cancer. Crosstalk between signalling pathways is another mechanism of resistance; therefore, identification of the molecular components involved could lead to the development of combination therapies cotargeting these molecules instead of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor monotherapy. Additionally, novel biomarkers could be identified through deep sequencing analysis of serial rebiopsies before and during treatment.
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