Molecular Mechanisms and Targeted Therapies Including Immunotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

(E-pub Ahead of Print)

Author(s): Tatsuya Nagano*, Motoko Tachihara, Yoshihiro Nishimura.

Journal Name: Current Cancer Drug Targets

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Molecular targeted therapy has greatly advanced the field of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for the majority of lung cancers. Indeed, gefitinib, which was the first molecular targeted therapeutic agent, has actually doubled the survival time of NSCLC patients. Vigorous efforts of clinicians and researchers have revealed that lung cancer develops through the activating mutations of many driver genes including the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), c-ros oncogene 1 (ROS1), v-Raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B (BRAF), and rearranged during transfection (RET) genes. Although ALK, ROS1, and RET are rare genetic abnormalities, corresponding tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) can exert dramatic therapeutic effects. In addition to anticancer drugs targeting driver genes, bevacizumab specifically binds to human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and blocks the VEGF signaling pathway. The VEGF signal blockade suppresses angiogenesis in tumor tissues and inhibits tumor growth. In this review, we also explore immunotherapy, which is a promising new NSCLC treatment approach. In general, antitumor immune responses are suppressed in cancer patients, and cancer cells escape from the immune surveillance mechanism. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are antibodies that target the primary escape mechanisms, immune checkpoints. Patients who respond to ICIs are reported to experience long-lasting therapeutic effects. A wide range of clinical approaches, including combination therapy involving chemotherapy or radiation plus adjuvant therapy, are being developed.

Keywords: non-small cell lung cancer, EGFR, ALK, ROS-1, BRAF, RET, VEGF, and immune checkpoint inhibitor

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(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/1568009619666181210114559
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