Second and Third-Generation Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Advanced Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer

Curr Opin Oncol. 2015 Mar;27(2):94-101. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000164.


Purpose of review: The first-generation epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs), gefitinib and erlotinib, are effective as first-line treatment of advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring activating EGFR mutations (deletions in exon 19 and exon 21 L858R mutation). EGFR T790 M resistance mutation (EGFR T790 M) ultimately emerged in most of these patients. The second and third-generation EGFR-TKIs were designed to have more potent inhibition of EGFR and to overcome EGFR T790 M. This review describes the recent developments of these novel EGFR-TKIs.

Recent findings: The second-generation EGFR-TKIs, afatinib and dacomitinib, irreversibly bind to the tyrosine kinase of EGFR and other ErbB-family members. Afatinib has been approved as first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC harboring activating EGFR mutations. Dacomitinib is under development. Third-generation EGFR-TKIs, AZD9291, CO-1686, and HM61713, inhibit both EGFR activating and resistance mutations, while sparing wild-type EGFR. In early-phase studies, these drugs demonstrated promising response rates against tumors with acquired EGFR T790 M.

Summary: Second-generation EGFR-TKI, afatinib, is available as first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC harboring activating EGFR mutations. Third-generation EGFR-TKIs are under development for tumors harboring acquired EGFR T790 M.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • Gefitinib
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Quinazolines / administration & dosage
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinazolines
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Gefitinib