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Targeting mutations that drive lung cancer

*November 2020*

Targeted treatments for non-small cell lung cancer: recent progress and future challenges.

Some of the most common driving mutations for NSCLC occur in EGFR, the gene that encodes for the protein epidermal growth factor receptor. These EGFR mutations can be classified as common (also known as classic) mutations and rare mutations6.

The prevalence of EGFR mutations varies with racial background and is much higher in Asia than in Europe and the United States. One study found that 38% of NSCLC patients in Asia had EGFR mutations, 24% of North and South American patients had them, while only 14% of patients in Europe had them3.

In the process of translating DNA to messenger RNA, introns are dropped from the code and exons retained. However, in one common EGFR mutation, there is a deletion in exon 19, while in another a single amino acid is substituted at L858R in exon 21. With these mutations, which account for about 85% of observed EGFR mutations in NSCLC, an excess of active EGFR promotes the growth of tumours6. Read the entire article.