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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 46(1); 2003 > Article
Heo: Molecular Targeted Therapy for Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in Korea. In spite of some improvements, conventional treatments (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy) did not bring satisfactory solution of this fatal disease.
Recent progress in molecular biology gave us better understanding of pathophysiology of lung cancer. It showed the basic elements of carcinogenesis at the molecular level. New anticancer drugs against molecular targets of cancer cells demonstrated treatment efficacy with acceptable toxicity.
As STI-571 (Gleevec) is effective in chronic myelogenous leukemia, inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor (Iressa and Cetuximab) showed promising results in non-small cell lung cancer. Numerous new drugs against various molecular targets, such as oncogenes or extra-cellular matrix or angiogenesis or COX-2, are under investigation.
Despite numerous obstacles to overcome, there are high hopes that these kinds of molecular targeted therapy will open a new horizon in lung cancer treatment.


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3. Hirsch FR, Franklin WA, Bunn PA Jr. Expression of target molecules in lung cancer: Challenge for a new treatment paradigm. Semin Oncol 2002;29:Supplement 9. 2-8.

4. Raben David, Helfrich Barbara A, Chan Dan, Johnson Gary, Bunn Paul A Jr, et al. ZD1839, a selective epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, alone and in combination with radiation and chemotherapy as a new therapeutic strategy in non-small cell lung cancer. Semin Oncol 2002;29:Supplement 4. 37-46.

5. Kim ES, Mauer AM, Fossella FV, Jamison TA, Kies MS, Herbst RS, et al. Proc ASCO #1168. A phase II study of Erbitux (IMC-225), an epidermal growth factor recepor(EGFR) blocking antibody, in combination with docetaxel in chemotherapy refractory/resistant patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) 2002.

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