AKT inactivation causes persistent drug tolerance to EGFR inhibitors

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Drug resistance is a major obstacle to the success of EGFR-targeted therapy. We recently studied the mechanism by which a small subset of EGFR mutant lung cancer cells remains viable after EGFR inhibition. We found that this drug-tolerant subpopulation develops because EGFR inhibition prevents AKT activity and thus inactivates Ets-1 function. In this article, we discuss how changes in intrinsic cell signaling after EGFR inhibition open a new avenue to drug resistance in NSCLCs, and comment on combined TKI and MEK inhibitor treatment to reduce the probability of emergent resistance to EGFR TKIs.

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