Review Articles

FGFR1 amplifications in squamous cell carcinomas of the lung: diagnostic and therapeutic implications

Hans-Ulrich Schildhaus, Lucia Nogova, Jürgen Wolf, Reinhard Buettner


Fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) is a type 4 receptor tyrosine kinase. The receptor and its ligands play an important role in development and physiology. However, constitutive activation of FGFR1 by gene amplification, translocation or mutation is associated with various malignancies as, for example, breast cancer or myeloproliferative diseases. We have recently reported that FGFR1 amplification occurs in 20% of pulmonary squamous cell carcinomas, and preclinical tests have shown that these alterations are therapeutically tractable. These findings make FGFR1 amplification a potential biomarker for lung cancer treatment.

Squamous cell carcinomas of the lung are characterized by an uneven FGFR1 gene copy number distribution. Therefore, fluorescence in situ hybridization assays need to address focality and heterogeneity of FGFR1 in these tumors. Here, we review our proposal for a reading and evaluation strategy. Furthermore, we highlight the emerging landscape of clinical trials with selective and unselective FGFR inhibitors and provide first response data from early clinical trials.

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