Recent advances in understanding the molecular basis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – the world’s leading cause of cancer-related mortality – have heralded a revolution in personalized cancer medicine. The growing appreciation of the immense heterogeneity of NSCLC has presented drug developers with new challenges as they seek to better classify the disease and develop new therapies that are geared specifically to individuals or subgroups of patients. Healthcare providers, patients and payers are all seeking targeted therapies that can increase the chance of success and reduce the risk of toxicity.

In this paper Christopher Ung, Jason Hill, Carrie Lee and Harish Dave review some of the most promising molecular pathways and targeted approaches for NSCLC. The paper also discusses the critical role of diagnostics needed to support these therapeutics, examines strategies to detect and address the emergence of resistance and considers the clinical implications of the current explosion of NSCLC research.