As the leading cause of cancer-related mortality, lung cancer is a worldwide health issue that is overwhelmingly caused by smoking. However, a substantial minority (~25%) of patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has never smoked. In these patients, activating mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are more likely, which render their tumors susceptible for a finite period to treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and confer a better prognosis than EGFR wild-type NSCLC. On progression, due to the inevitable insurgence of resistance, TKIs are generally followed by second- or third-line salvage chemotherapy until treatment failure, after which no standard treatment options are available, resulting in a poor prognosis and a high risk of death. With the focus of clinical attention on treatment with TKIs, few studies on optimal salvage therapies, including cytotoxic chemotherapy, after failure of EGFR TKIs have been reported. Despite a paucity of available data, the aim of this review is to summarize the “no-man's land” of TKI-failed EGFR-mutated NSCLC and expand on alternative strategies as well as potential future directions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research