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New developments in the treatment of squamous cell lung cancer

Filipits, Martin

doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000049
LUNG AND MEDIASTINUM: Edited by Robert Pirker
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Purpose of review To highlight the recent developments in the molecular characterization of lung squamous cell carcinoma (SQCC) and to summarize the current clinical trials of targeted agents.

Recent findings Lung SQCC is the second-largest histological subtype of nonsmall-cell lung cancer after lung adenocarcinoma and is closely associated with tobacco smoking. Targeted therapies have been successfully used for the treatment of lung adenocarcinoma but have not been implemented in the treatment of lung SQCC to date. Both lung adenocarcinomas and SQCCs are characterized by specific somatic DNA modifications such as exonic mutations, copy-number alterations, and genomic rearrangements which are substantially different between the two subtypes. Progress in genomic characterization using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies makes it possible to investigate these somatic DNA modifications at the whole-genome level and to generate comprehensive profiles of genetic alterations. Application of NGS in lung SQCC led to a more detailed understanding of the possible targets and will identify new targeted therapeutic approaches in the near future.

Summary In this review, we highlight the current knowledge of molecular targets, clinical trials of targeted agents, and druggable aberrations in lung SQCCs.

Department of Medicine I, Institute of Cancer Research, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Correspondence to Martin Filipits, PhD, Department of Medicine I, Institute of Cancer Research, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Borschkegasse 8a, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. Tel: +43 1 40160 57528; e-mail: martin.filipits@meduniwien.ac.at

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.