Generic placeholder image

Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Back to the Bench? MEK and ERK Inhibitors for the Treatment of KRAS Mutant Lung Adenocarcinoma

Author(s): Jens Kohler*, Marco Catalano and Chiara Ambrogio*

Volume 25, Issue 5, 2018

Page: [558 - 574] Pages: 17

DOI: 10.2174/0929867324666170530093100

Price: $65


Background: Lung cancer accounts for one in five cancer deaths worldwide and mutations in the gene encoding for the Kirsten rat sarcoma (KRAS) oncoprotein define the largest molecular subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These tumors are characterized by activated MAPK signaling, however, no targeted inhibitors of mutant KRAS or of downstream signaling molecules have yet been approved for routine clinical use.

Objective: The primary objective of this review is to critically summarize the current developmental state of MEK and ERK inhibitors in pre-clinical models and in human clinical trials for KRAS mutant lung cancer particularly in light of the newly emerging concept of immune checkpoint blockade.

Method: We performed a Pubmed-based literature search and considered publications from the fields of basic and translational biomedicinal and biochemistry research, as well as from past and ongoing human clinical trials (

Results and Conclusions: MAPK pathway targeting agents are efficacious in pre-clinical models but their benefit is limited for patients with KRAS mutant NSCLC due to the lack of predictive factors, toxicity and the adaptive dynamic kinome reprogramming within the tumor. Overall, MEK inhibitors have advanced further in clinical development compared to ERK inhibitors. New treatment strategies as e.g. immune checkpoint blockade are currently revolutionizing the treatment paradigms and future clinical trials need to show if they replace MAPK targeting strategies or are used as add-on.

Keywords: KRAS, non-small cell lung cancer, MEK and ERK inhibitors, GEMM, clinical trials, immune checkpoint blockade.

Rights & Permissions Print Export Cite as
© 2023 Bentham Science Publishers | Privacy Policy