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Clinical Challenges to Current Molecularly Targeted Therapies in Lung Cancer

Gagan Chhabra, Ashley Eggert and Neelu Puri

Lung cancer is difficult to treat with a poor prognosis and a five year survival of 15%. Current molecularly targeted therapies are initially effective in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients; however, they are plagued with difficulties including induced resistance and small therapeutically responsive populations. This mini review describes the mechanism of resistance to several molecularly targeted therapies which are currently being used to treat NSCLC. The major targets discussed are c-Met, EGFR, HER2, ALK, VEGFR, and BRAF. The first generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) resulted in resistance; however, second and third generation TKIs are being developed, which are generally more efficacious and have potential to treat NSCLC patients with resistance to first generation TKIs. Combination therapies could also be effective in preventing TKI resistance in NSCLC patients.