Investigational therapies for squamous cell lung cancer: from animal studies to phase II trials

Elaine Shum, Feng Wang, Salem Kim, Roman Perez-Soler, Haiying Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: It remains challenging to treat squamous cell lung cancer (SCC) with limited therapeutic options. However, recent breakthroughs in targeted therapies and immunotherapies have shed some light on the management of this deadly disease. Areas covered: The article first reviews the current treatment options for advanced SCC, especially recent FDA approved molecular agents (afatinib, ramucirumab and necitumumab) and immunotherapies (nivolumab, pembrolizumab and atezolimumab). We then provide an overview on investigational therapies with data ranging from preclinical to phase II studies, focusing on new cytotoxic agents, emerging molecularly targeted agents (including a PARP inhibitor for Homologous Recombinant Deficiency positive SCC) and novel immunotherapeutic strategies. Expert opinion summary: Identification of potential therapeutic targets, development of novel clinical trials and the rapid approvals of immune checkpoint inhibitors have shifted the management paradigm for squamous cell lung cancer. On the other hand, continued efforts are needed to identify the predictive biomarkers and to investigate novel mechanistically-driven mono- and combination therapies. We need to learn more about the biology behind immune checkpoint blockade and tumor genomics in SCC for better patient selection and future trial design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-426
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017


  • Squamous cell lung cancer
  • immunotherapy
  • novel therapy
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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