About NSCLC

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the two major types of lung cancer. The other major type is small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Lung cancer (both small-cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men and women,1 and is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide.2

  • NSCLC accounts for approximately 85% of lung cancers.3

  • NSCLC is typically diagnosed in patients over the age of 65 and the average age at diagnosis is 70.2

  • Roughly 70% of patients with NSCLC have locally advanced or metastatic disease when they are diagnosed.1 This means that their cancer has spread from the site of origin.2

  • Many NSCLCs are associated with mutations in the KRAS gene, also called KRAS-positive.

  • KRAS mutations are present in approximately 25% of NSCLC adenocarcinomas (cancer that begins in glandular cells found in the tissues that line the lungs and other organs).1

  • One of the most common types of KRAS mutations is G12V, which are present in approximately 7% of NSCLC.4

Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread. Symptoms may include:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Wheezing
  • Blood in sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs)
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swelling in the face and/or veins in the neck

Smoking is the major risk factor for NSCLC. Other risk factors may include:

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to chemicals in the workplace such as asbestos and arsenic
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Living in an area with air pollution
  • Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • A family history of lung cancer
  • Treatment options for NSCLC include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.6
  • Mutated forms of the RAS gene are present in about 30% of all human cancers.

Currently available options for patients with KRAS-positive (KRAS+) NSCLC, a type of RAS mutation, are associated with resistance and toxicity. Other treatment options with potential to address these challenges are currently being investigated.

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1 Roman, Marta, et al. KRAS oncogene in non-small cell lung cancer: clinical perspectives on the treatment of an old target. Molecular Cancer (2018) 17:33.
2 American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Lung Cancer. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed December 9, 2020.
3 Molina, Julian R., Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, Treatment, and Survivorship. National Institute of Health. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2718421/pdf/nihms121782.pdf. Accessed December 9, 2020.
4 TCGA PanCancer Atlas (cBioPortal analysis)
5 American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html. Accessed December 9, 2020.
6 Baines, A. T., Xu, D., & Der, C. J. (2011). Inhibition of Ras for cancer treatment: the search continues. Future medicinal chemistry, 3(14), 1787–1808. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc.11.121.