EGFR T790M is a point mutation in the EGFR gene that is associated with resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase inhibitors like erlotinib and gefitinib. Since its initial discovery in 2005, the T790M mutation has been the subject of much research aiming to better understand drug resistance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the role of T790M as a biomarker for the clinical care of lung cancer patients over the same time period has been less clear.
Tarceva and Iressa (some of you may remember this drugs from a few years ago) have certainly become popular drugs for treating lung cancer, specially in the adenocarcinoma type of lung cancer. Drs. Pennell and West have discussed tarceva in other posts on this website – how it works, who benefits the most, what is the impact of certain mutations on the effect of the drug. Unfortunately, we are also too well familiar with the fact that these drugs don’t work forever and the cancer relapses even after having initially responded well.