Treatment with epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) improves the overall survival of patients with EGFR
-mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). First-generation EGFR-TKIs (e.g., gefitinib and erlotinib) or second-generation EGFR-TKIs (e.g., afatinib and dacomitinib) are effective for the treatment of EGFR
-mutated NSCLC, especially in patients with EGFR
exon 19 deletions or an exon 21 L858R mutation. However, almost all cases experience disease recurrence after 1 to 2 years due to acquired resistance. The EGFR
T790M mutation in exon 20 is the most frequent alteration associated with the development of acquired resistance. Osimertinib—a third-generation EGFR-TKI—targets the T790M mutation and has demonstrated high efficacy against EGFR
-mutated lung cancer. However, the development of acquired resistance to third-generation EGFR-TKI, involving the cysteine residue at codon 797 mutation, has been observed. Other mechanisms of acquired resistance include the activation of alternative pathways or downstream targets and histological transformation (i.e., epithelial–mesenchymal transition or conversion to small-cell lung cancer). Furthermore, the development of primary resistance through overexpression of the hepatocyte growth factor and suppression of Bcl-2-like protein 11 expression may lead to problems. In this report, we review these mechanisms and discuss therapeutic strategies to overcome resistance to EGFR-TKIs.
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