EGFR mutated lung cancer: current therapies and potential future treatments
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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States, with an estimated 158, 040 deaths in 2015, accounting for 27% of all cancer deaths. Recent research has identified several important molecular driver oncogenes, including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is encoded by exons 18-21, each of which harbor specific mutations within the tyrosine kinase domain. These mutations can drive cell growth, proliferation, and survival, resulting in the formation of non-small cell lung cancer. The development of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, allows the targeting of these specific mutations without the toxicity normally associated with standard chemotherapy. Unfortunately, inevitably resistance to therapy manifests, requiring a change in therapy and adding complexity to treatment decision making for clinicians and patients alike. Through a comprehensive examination of current literature, this review will establish a standard for first line, targeted treatment for specific genetic mutations within the EGFR gene, as well as address treatment options once resistance to first-line therapy inevitably develops.