Squamous cell lung cancer (SCC) represents an area of unmet need in lung cancer research. For the past several years, therapeutic progress in SCC has lagged behind the now more common non-small cell lung cancer histologic subtype of adenocarcinoma. However, recent efforts to define the complex biology underlying SCC have begun to bear fruit in a multitude of ways, including characterization of previously unknown genomic and signaling pathways, delineation of new, potentially actionable molecular targets, and subsequent development of a large number of agents directed against unique SCC-associated molecular abnormalities. For the first time, SCC-specific prognostic gene signatures and predictive biomarkers of new therapeutic agents are emerging. In addition, recent and ongoing clinical trials, including the Lung-MAP master protocol, have been designed to facilitate approval of targeted therapy-biomarker combinations. In this comprehensive review, we describe the current status of SCC therapeutics, recent advances in the understanding of SCC biology and prognostic gene signatures, and the development of innovative new clinical trials, all of which offer new hope for patients with advanced SCC.





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