Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in the era of targeted therapy


Lung cancer, mostly non-small cell carcinoma (NSCLC), is still a major global problem with devastating outcomes. The majority presents at late stages, in which the chance of cure is minimal. With the better understanding of lung cancer biology, there have been several novel targeted approaches against NSCLC. Anti-angiogenesis has been proven to be an important approach in combination with systemic chemotherapy treatment in NSCLC at the first-line setting. The prototypic monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), be- vacizumab, is now approved for clinical use in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy in first-line treatment of advanced non-squamous NSCLC, associated with improved response and survival compared with chemotherapy alone. The most notable example of targeted therapy for lung cancer is epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR TKI). There have been extensive evidences supporting the superiority of EGFR TKI (like gefitinib or erlotinib) over standard platinum-based doublet chemotherapy in first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC carrying EGFR activating mutations. Almost following the same path as EGFR TKI, a novel target (anaplastic lymphoma kinase, ALK) has been identified recently with a very promising targeted agent (crizotinib) that has already been approved for clinical use in NSCLC carrying ALK rearrangements. Over the past decade, there have been undoubtedly growing armamentaria in the treatment of NSCLC, focusing on personalized and targeted approach.

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Ho, J. (2012) Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in the era of targeted therapy. Advances in Lung Cancer, 1, 1-4. doi: 10.4236/alc.2012.11001.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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