Is there a role for epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors in epidermal growth factor receptor wild-type non-small cell lung cancer?

World J Clin Oncol. 2015 Aug 10;6(4):45-56. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v6.i4.45.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer with a world-wide annual incidence of around 1.3 million. The majority of patients are diagnosed with advanced disease and survival remains poor. However, relevant advances have occurred in recent years through the identification of biomarkers that predict for benefit of therapeutic agents. This is exemplified by the efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors for the treatment of EGFR mutant patients. These drugs have also shown efficacy in unselected populations but this point remains controversial. Here we have reviewed the clinical data that demonstrate a small but consistent subgroup of EGFR wild-type patients with NSCLC that obtain a clinical benefit from these drugs. Moreover, we review the biological rationale that may explain this benefit observed in the clinical setting.

Keywords: Epidermal growth factor receptors; Non-small cell lung cancer; Tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review