KRAS mutation: from undruggable to druggable in cancer

Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2021 Nov 15;6(1):386. doi: 10.1038/s41392-021-00780-4.


Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, and its treatment and outcomes have been dramatically revolutionised by targeted therapies. As the most frequently mutated oncogene, Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homologue (KRAS) has attracted substantial attention. The understanding of KRAS is constantly being updated by numerous studies on KRAS in the initiation and progression of cancer diseases. However, KRAS has been deemed a challenging therapeutic target, even "undruggable", after drug-targeting efforts over the past four decades. Recently, there have been surprising advances in directly targeted drugs for KRAS, especially in KRAS (G12C) inhibitors, such as AMG510 (sotorasib) and MRTX849 (adagrasib), which have obtained encouraging results in clinical trials. Excitingly, AMG510 was the first drug-targeting KRAS (G12C) to be approved for clinical use this year. This review summarises the most recent understanding of fundamental aspects of KRAS, the relationship between the KRAS mutations and tumour immune evasion, and new progress in targeting KRAS, particularly KRAS (G12C). Moreover, the possible mechanisms of resistance to KRAS (G12C) inhibitors and possible combination therapies are summarised, with a view to providing the best regimen for individualised treatment with KRAS (G12C) inhibitors and achieving truly precise treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Humans
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / enzymology
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)* / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)* / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)* / metabolism


  • KRAS protein, human
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)