Oncogenic KRAS blockade therapy: renewed enthusiasm and persistent challenges

Daolin Tang, Guido Kroemer, Rui Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Across a broad range of human cancers, gain-of-function mutations in RAS genes (HRAS, NRAS, and KRAS) lead to constitutive activity of oncoproteins responsible for tumorigenesis and cancer progression. The targeting of RAS with drugs is challenging because RAS lacks classic and tractable drug binding sites. Over the past 30 years, this perception has led to the pursuit of indirect routes for targeting RAS expression, processing, upstream regulators, or downstream effectors. After the discovery that the KRAS-G12C variant contains a druggable pocket below the switch-II loop region, it has become possible to design irreversible covalent inhibitors for the variant with improved potency, selectivity and bioavailability. Two such inhibitors, sotorasib (AMG 510) and adagrasib (MRTX849), were recently evaluated in phase I-III trials for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer with KRAS-G12C mutations, heralding a new era of precision oncology. In this review, we outline the mutations and functions of KRAS in human tumors and then analyze indirect and direct approaches to shut down the oncogenic KRAS network. Specifically, we discuss the mechanistic principles, clinical features, and strategies for overcoming primary or secondary resistance to KRAS-G12C blockade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number128
JournalMolecular Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Covalent inhibitor
  • Drug resistance
  • Gene mutation
  • KRAS
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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