Biomolecules & Therapeutics
Chronicles of EGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors: Targeting EGFR C797S Containing Triple Mutations
Krishna Babu Duggirala1,2, Yujin Lee1,2 and Kwangho Lee1,2,*
1Bio & Drug Discovery Division, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, Daejeon 34114,
2Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacology, University of Science & Technology, Daejeon 34113, Republic of Korea
Tel: +82-42-860-7176, Fax: +82-42-860-7160
Received: March 12, 2021; Revised: April 29, 2021; Accepted: May 7, 2021; Published online: June 2, 2021.
© The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a receptor tyrosine kinase widely expressed in many cancers such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and head and neck cancer. Mutations such as L858R in exon 21, exon 19 truncation (Del19), exon 20 insertions, and others are responsible for aberrant activation of EGFR in NSCLC. First-generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as gefitinib and erlotinib have clinical benefits for EGFR-sensitive (L858R and Del19) NSCLC patients. However, after 10-12 months of treatment with these inhibitors, a secondary T790M mutation at the gatekeeper position in the kinase domain of EGFR was identified, which limited the clinical benefits. Second-generation EGFR irreversible inhibitors (afatinib and dacomitinib) were developed to overcome this T790M mutation. However, their lack of selectivity toward wild-type EGFR compromised their clinical benefits due to serious adverse events. Recently developed third-generation irreversible EGFR TKIs (osimertinib and lazertinib) are selective toward driving mutations and the T790M mutation, while sparing wildtype EGFR activity. The latest studies have concluded that their efficacy was also compromised by additional acquired mutations, including C797S, the key residue cysteine that forms covalent bonds with irreversible inhibitors. Because second- and thirdgeneration EGFR TKIs are irreversible inhibitors, they are not effective against C797S containing EGFR triple mutations (Del19/ T790M/C797S and L858R/T790M/C797S). Therefore, there is an urgent unmet medical need to develop next-generation EGFR TKIs that selectively inhibit EGFR triple mutations via a non-irreversible mechanism.
Keywords: EGFR, NSCLC, Acquired resistance, T790M, C797S, TKIs

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