Intratumoral Cellular Heterogeneity: Implications for Drug Resistance in Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Apr 22;13(9):2023. doi: 10.3390/cancers13092023.


Tailored therapies based on the identification of molecular targets currently represent a well-established therapeutic scenario in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, while aiming to improve patients' response to therapy, development of resistance is frequently observed in daily clinical practice. Intratumoral heterogeneity is a frequent event in NSCLC, responsible for several critical issues in patients' diagnosis and treatment. Advances in single-cell sequencing technologies have allowed in-depth profiling of tumors and attributed intratumoral heterogeneity to genetic, epigenetic, and protein modification driven diversities within cancer cell populations. This review highlights current research on the biological role of tumor heterogeneity and its impact on the development of acquired resistance in NSCLC patients.

Keywords: NSCLC; genomic instability; non-small cell lung cancer; targeted agents; tumor heterogeneity.

Publication types

  • Review