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Somatic mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor and non-small-cell lung cancer
  1. Xiaozhu Zhang1,
  2. Alex Chang2
  1. 1Division of Biomedical Sciences, Johns Hopkins Singapore, Singapore
  2. 2International Medical Centre, Johns Hopkins Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr X Zhang
 Division of Biomedical Sciences, Johns Hopkins Singapore, 31 Biopolis Way, #02-01, the Nanos, Singapore 138669, Singapore; xiaozhu{at}


Frequent overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) makes EGFR a new therapeutic target. Two specific EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, gefitinib (ZD1839, Iressa) and erlotinib (OSI-774, Tarceva), have been developed and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for second-line and third-line treatment of advanced NSCLC. Clinical trials have shown considerable variability in the response rate between different patients with NSCLC, which led to the discovery of somatic EGFR-activating mutations. This brief review summarises the discovery and functional consequences of the mutations, their clinicopathological features and significant implications in the treatment and prognosis of NSCLC.

  • EGF(R), epidermal growth factor (receptor)
  • NSCLC, non-small cell lung cancer
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • SSCP, single-strand conformation polymorphism
  • TKI, tyrosine kinase inhibitor

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  • Competing interests: None.