Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 49-60

First online:

Biological and clinical significance of KRAS mutations in lung cancer: an oncogenic driver that contrasts with EGFR mutation

  • Kenichi SudaAffiliated withDepartment of Thoracic Surgery, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital
  • , Kenji TomizawaAffiliated withDepartment of Thoracic Surgery, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital
  • , Tetsuya MitsudomiAffiliated withDepartment of Thoracic Surgery, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital Email author 

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KRAS and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are the two most frequently mutated proto-oncogenes in adenocarcinoma of the lung. The occurrence of these two oncogenic mutations is mutually exclusive, and they exhibit many contrasting characteristics such as clinical background, pathological features of patients harboring each mutation, and prognostic or predictive implications. Lung cancers harboring the EGFR mutations are remarkably sensitive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as gefitinib or erlotinib. This discovery has dramatically changed the clinical treatment of lung cancer in that it almost doubled the duration of survival for lung cancer patients with an EGFR mutation. In this review, we describe the features of KRAS mutations in lung cancer and contrast these with the features of EGFR mutations. Recent strategies to combat lung cancer harboring KRAS mutations are also reviewed.


Lung cancer Oncogene addiction Targeted therapy Personalized medicine