Targeted drugs for systemic therapy of lung cancer with brain metastases

Ya-Wen Sun, Jian Xu, Jun Zhou and Wen-Juan Liu _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:5459-5472. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23616

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Ya-Wen Sun2, Jian Xu3,4, Jun Zhou5 and Wen-Juan Liu1

1Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radiation Oncology, Shandong Cancer Hospital and Institute, Shandong Cancer Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan, China

2Shandong Cancer Hospital and Institute, Shandong Cancer Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, China

3Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA

4Institute of Medicinal Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China

5University of South Carolina, Computer Science and Engineering Department, Columbia, SC, USA

Correspondence to:

Wen-Juan Liu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: brain metastases; lung cancer; target drug; EGFR-TKI; ALK

Received: July 20, 2017     Accepted: October 28, 2017     Published: December 22, 2017


Brain metastases are very common in lung cancer patients. The condition of these patients is complicated and difficult to treat, and adverse reactions following treatment can affect the nervous system, which severely reduces quality of life. Lung cancers are categorized as small cell lung cancers and non-small cell lung cancers. Patients with brain metastasis of small cell lung cancers are generally treated with brain radiotherapy and systemic chemotherapy, but stage III/IV patients with brain metastasis of non-small cell lung cancers are generally not responsive to radiotherapy or chemotherapy. With the recent development of targeted drugs, tumor molecular profile detection allows the selection of appropriate targeted drugs for adjuvant pharmacological treatment of brain metastasis in lung cancer patients. In recent years, immune checkpoint inhibitors have emerged and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain cancers, but their efficacy in lung cancer patients with brain metastases still needs to be confirmed. This paper focuses on highlighting drugs for targeted therapy of brain metastasis in lung cancer patients and their molecular targets and mechanisms of drug resistance.

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