Current Oncology Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 335–348 | Cite as

Molecular Testing in Lung Cancer: The Time Is Now

  • Haiying Cheng
  • Xunhai Xu
  • Daniel B. Costa
  • Charles A. Powell
  • Balazs Halmos


In the past few years, we have witnessed a revolution in the molecular understanding of non-small cell lung cancer. Major progress has also been made in the clinic, with the introduction of EGFR-targeted and anti-angiogenic therapies. These advances have led to the development of a multitude of commercially available prognostic and predictive biomarkers. In particular, EGFR mutation and EML4/ALK testing have reached clinical validation and are incorporated into current treatment paradigms. This overview will present the scientific background of the biology of the relevant biomarkers and the studies conducted for their clinical validation. The technical challenges and shortcomings of these assays are also discussed. Furthermore, ongoing biomarker-driven clinical studies and the appropriate clinical use of available tests will be reviewed to assist the clinician with the proper incorporation of molecular testing into the routine care of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.


Non-small cell lung cancer Biomarkers Molecular testing EGFR KRAS EML4/ALK translocation 



The authors’ work was supported by grants from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute and the American Cancer Society (grant number RSG-08-303-01-TBE to BH), as well as the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute “SPORE in Human Lung Cancer” P50 CA90578-04 (BH and DBC).


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haiying Cheng
    • 1
  • Xunhai Xu
    • 1
  • Daniel B. Costa
    • 2
  • Charles A. Powell
    • 3
  • Balazs Halmos
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hematology/Oncology, New York Presbyterian HospitalColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Division of Hematology/OncologyBeth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, New York Presbyterian HospitalColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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