Cancer is a genetic disease, and this concept is now widely exploited by both scientists and clinicians to develop new genotype-selective anticancer therapeutics. Although the quest of cancer genomics is in its dawn, recognition of the widespread applicability of genetic interactions with biological processes of tumorigenesis is propelling research throughout academic fields. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide, with an estimated 1.6 million deaths each year. Despite the development of targeted therapies that inhibit oncogenic mutations of lung cancer cases, continued research into new therapeutic approaches is required for untreatable lung cancer patients, and the development of therapeutic modalities has proven elusive. The “synthetic lethal” approach holds the promise of delivering a therapeutic regimen that preferentially targets malignant cells while sparing normal cells. We highlight the potential challenges in synthetic lethal anticancer therapeutics that target untreatable genetic alterations in lung cancer. We also discuss both challenges and opportunities regarding the application of new synthetic lethal interactions in lung cancer.
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