Improvement in Lung Cancer Outcomes With Targeted Therapies: An Update for Family Physicians

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Abstract

In the past decade the advent of target therapy has led to a silent revolution in the treatment of lung cancer. Thanks to the specificity of their target, new tailored drugs are able to achieve a larger benefit and lower toxicity and provide better quality of life than cytotoxic drugs in a limited number of patients, selected by molecular profile. Nowadays, the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors erlotinib and gefitinib, and the anaplastic lymphoma kinase inhibitor crizotinib, are targeted agents approved for treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer. Family physicians play an important role in the treatment, detection, and management of common toxicities and in providing emotional support. Therefore this review integrates molecular profile assessment with evidence of the efficacy and toxicity of tyrosine kinase inhibitors to provide an updated overview of the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer, which radically changed after the advent of targeted therapies. It also aims to promote a more intensive and interactive collaboration between specialists and family physicians in the management of all phases of cancer care.

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