Cancer Genes in Lung Cancer: Racial Disparities: Are There Any?

Ahmed El-Telbany, Patrick C. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Cancer is now known as a disease of genomic alterations. Mutational analysis and genomics profiling in recent years have advanced the field of lung cancer genetics/genomics significantly. It is becoming more accepted now that the identification of genomic alterations in lung cancer can impact therapeutics, especially when the alterations represent "oncogenic drivers" in the processes of tumorigenesis and progression. In this review, we will highlight the key driver oncogenic gene mutations and fusions identified in lung cancer. The review will summarize and report the available demographic and clinicopathological data as well as molecular details behind various lung cancer gene alterations in the context of race. We hope to shed some light into the disparities in the incidence of various genetic mutations among lung cancer patients of different racial backgrounds. As molecularly targeted therapy continues to advance in lung cancer, racial differences in specific genetic/genomic alterations can have an important impact in the choices of therapeutics and in our understanding of the drug sensitivity/resistance profile. The most relevant genes in lung cancer described in this review include the following: EGFR, KRAS, MET, LKB1, BRAF, PIK3CA, ALK, RET, and ROS1. Commonly identified genetic/genomic alterations such as missense or nonsense mutations, small insertions or deletions, alternative splicing, and chromosomal fusion rearrangements were discussed. Relevance in current targeted therapeutic drugs was mentioned when appropriate. We also highlighted various targeted therapeutics that are currently under clinical development, such as the MET inhibitors and antibodies. With the advent of next-generation sequencing, the landscape of genomic alterations in lung cancer is expected to be much transformed and detailed in upcoming years. These genomic landscape differences in the context of racial disparities should be emphasized both in tumorigenesis and in drug sensitivity/resistance. It is hoped that such effort will help to diminish racial disparities in lung cancer outcome in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-480
Number of pages14
JournalGenes and Cancer
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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