miRNAs and resistance to EGFR—TKIs in EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer: beyond ‘traditional mechanisms’ of resistance

2 Sep 2015
Biagio Ricciuti, Carmen Mecca, Matteo Cenci, Giulia Leonardi, Lorenzo Perrone, Clelia Mencaroni, Lucio Crinò, Francesco Grignani, Sara Baglivo, Rita Chiari, Angelo Sidoni, Luca Paglialunga, Maria Francesca Currà, Emanuele Murano, Vincenzo Minotti, Giulio Metro

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have dramatically changed the prognosis of advanced non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) that harbour specific EGFR activating mutations. However, the efficacy of an EGFR-TKI is limited by the onset of acquired resistance, usually within one year, in virtually all treated patients. Moreover, a small percentage of EGFR-mutant NSCLCs do not respond to an EGFR-TKI, thus displaying primary resistance. At the present time, several mechanisms of either primary and acquired resistance have been elucidated, and new drugs are currently under preclinical and clinical development in order to overcome resistance to treatment. Nevertheless, there still remains much to be thoroughly investigated, as so far research has mainly focused on the role of proteincoding genes involved in resistance to EGFR-TKIs. On the other hand, in line with the data underscoring the relevance of non-coding RNAs in the pathogenesis of lung cancer and modulation of response to systemic therapies, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been supposed to play an important role in resistance to EGFR-TKIs. The aim of this review is to briefly summarise the existing relationship between miRNAs and resistance to EGFR-TKIs, and also focusing on the possible clinical applications of miRNAs in reverting and overcoming such resistance.

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