Over the years, a number of targeted therapies have been developed for the treatment of various type of cancers, with the primary focus on the safety and efficacy of the treatment. The uncontrolled growth of cells originating in the bronchi lining, bronchioles or alveoli of the lungs is termed as lung cancer. Around 85% of lung cancers are histologically classified as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the recent years, a significant rise in NSCLC cases has been observed, owing to several causative factors, such as tobacco use, exposure to airborne carcinogens (radon or asbestos) and genetic aberrations. In 2020, more than 1.8 million cases of NSCLC were reported, worldwide, with an average 5- year survival rate of 25%.
Squamous non-small cell lung cancer makes up to about 30% of the overall NSCLC cases. It is an aggressive form of lung carcinoma, originating in the epithelial cells that line the proximal airways (bronchi) of the lungs. Owing to the cellular heterogeneity and immunosuppressive nature of the tumor cells, the host’s immune system finds it difficult to generate an effective and consistent therapeutic response. Some of the challenges associated with the treatment of NSCLC are shown in the figure.
The increasing occurrence of non-small cell lung cancer has resulted in an urgent need for effective therapeutic modalities. Till date, surgical procedures, radiation therapy (using high energy x-rays), medication (chemotherapy, targeted therapies or immunotherapies) have proved to be viable treatment modalities for NSCLC, however, the emerging class of targeted therapies have demonstrated significant efficacy as compared to the conventional methods, making them a promising disease management recourse. Such targeted therapies impede the growth of cancer cells by altering chemical reactions associated with oncogenic driver mutations, alterations providing the cancerous cell with fundamental growth advantage for its neoplastic transformation. The lines of treatment are associated with emerging squamous NSCLC therapies are presented in the figure.
Further, six squamous non-small cell lung cancer therapies have been marketed till date, including some blockbuster drugs such as Keytruda®, Opdivo® and Tecentriq®, and more than 16 drugs are being evaluated in late stage clinical trials for the treatment of squamous NSCLC. The emergence of many novel diagnostics, oncological imaging, biomarker identification and lesion detection technologies have lead to the advancement in this domain. Future perspectives associated with the treatment of NSCLC are presents in the figure.
Currently, more than 55 players are developing targeted therapies against squamous non-small cell lung cancer. Driven by a strong late stage pipeline and encouraging clinical trial data, the squamous NSCLC market is poised to grow at an ample growth rate in the foreseen future.
For further information on this domain, check out the report –