Emerging Targeted Therapies for the Treatment of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

Curr Oncol Rep. 2019 Feb 26;21(3):21. doi: 10.1007/s11912-019-0770-x.


Purpose of review: Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Genetic and molecular profiling of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has led to the discovery of actionable oncogenic driver alterations, which has revolutionized treatment for this disease. This review will move beyond traditional mutational drivers such as EGFR and ALK and will instead focus on emerging targets and the efficacy of new precision therapies.

Recent findings: Here, we discuss both established and emerging targeted therapy approaches, as well as ongoing challenges for the treatment of NSCLC patients harboring oncogenic alterations of the following types-gene fusions (ROS1, RET, NTRK), receptor tyrosine kinases (MET amplification and exon 14 mutations and EGFR/HER2 exon 20 insertion mutations), and MAPK signaling (SHP2 and altered BRAF and NF1). The treatment of lung cancer is increasingly biomarker-driven, as patients are selected for targeted agents based on the identification of genetic alterations amenable to inhibition. Our ability to further improve patient outcomes with this precision medicine approach will require continued efforts to identify, characterize, and target lesions driving lung cancer tumorigenesis and progression.

Keywords: Kinase; Lung cancer; Precision medicine; Targeted therapy; Therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Precision Medicine
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases