Canadian perspectives: update on inhibition of ALK-positive tumours in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer Academic Article uri icon

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  • BackgroundInhibition of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (alk) oncogenic driver in advanced non-small-cell lung carcinoma (nsclc) improves survival. In 2015, Canadian thoracic oncology specialists published a consensus guideline about the identification and treatment of ALK-positive patients, recommending use of the alk inhibitor crizotinib in the first line. New scientific literature warrants a consensus update.MethodsClinical trials of alk inhibitor were reviewed to assess benefits, risks, and implications relative to current Canadian guidance in patients with ALK-positive nsclc.ResultsRandomized phase iii trials have demonstrated clinical benefit for single-agent alectinib and ceritinib used in treatment-naïve patients and as second-line therapy after crizotinib. Phase ii trials have demonstrated activity for single-agent brigatinib and lorlatinib in further lines of therapy. Improved responses in brain metastases were observed for all second- and next/third-generation alk tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients progressing on crizotinib. Canadian recommendations are therefore revised as follows:Patients with advanced nonsquamous nsclc have to be tested for the presence of an ALKrearrangement.Treatment-naïve patients with ALK-positive disease should initially be offered single-agent alectinib or ceritinib, or both sequentially.Crizotinib-refractory patients should be treated with single-agent alectinib or ceritinib, or both sequentially.Further treatments could include single-agent brigatinib or lorlatinib, or both sequentially.Patients progressing on alk tyrosine kinase inhibitors should be considered for pemetrexed-based chemotherapy.Other systemic therapies should be exhausted before immunotherapy is considered.SummaryMultiple lines of alk inhibition are now recommended for patients with advanced nsclc with an ALKrearrangement.


  • Melosky, B
  • Cheema, P
  • Agulnik, J
  • Albadine, R
  • Bebb, DG
  • Blais, N
  • Burkes, R
  • Butts, C
  • Card, PB
  • Chan, AMY
  • Hirsh, V
  • Ionescu, DN
  • Juergens, Rosalyn
  • Morzycki, W
  • Poonja, Z
  • Sangha, R
  • Tehfe, M
  • Tao, MS
  • Vincent, M
  • Xu, Z
  • Liu, G

publication date

  • October 2018