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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 23-30

Molecularly targeted therapies in non-small cell lung cancer: The evolving role of tyrosine kinase inhibitors

1 Department of Medical Oncology/Hemato-Oncology Chair Medical Oncology and Chief of Breast and Thoracic Services, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, New Delhi, India
2 Consultant Oncologist and Director, Hemato Oncology Clinic, Vendanta Institute of Medical Sciences, Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India
3 Consultant Medical Oncologist, Silverline Hospital, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
D C Doval
Department of Medical Oncology/Hemato-Oncology Chair Medical Oncology and Chief of Breast and Thoracic Services, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_449_19

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Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a major subtype of lung cancer. Patients with NSCLC are diagnosed at a locally advanced or metastatic stage where prognosis with palliative chemotherapy is poor. The discovery of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations has revolutionized cancer treatment for NSCLC by promoting the development of molecularly targeted therapies like tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). This review summarizes the clinical efficacy and tolerability of EGFR-TKIs, including osimertinib, in EGFR-mutated advanced NSCLC. EGFR-TKIs have demonstrated superior response and overall survival rates compared with chemotherapy in EGFR-mutated NSCLC. However, despite the initial rapid and durable clinical responses, acquired resistance to first- and second-generation TKIs eventually develops in most cases, with disease progression observed mostly within 12 months of treatment initiation. Osimertinib, a potent third-generation TKI, irreversibly inhibits mutated EGFR alleles, including T790M. In addition to longer survival and higher response rate, osimertinib has a favorable safety profile with a lower incidence of grade ≥3 treatment-related adverse events compared with other TKIs. Based on the efficacy and safety results, recently the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has included osimertinib as the “preferred first-line of treatment” in patients with metastatic EGFR mutationpositive NSCLC. Thus, osimertinib as first-line therapy for EGFRpositive patients irrespective of the T790M mutation status could be an ideal choice in the Indian setting where only 50% of patients opt for any second-line therapy after first-line failure.


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