Ceritinib as a promising therapy for ALK related diseases

Monica Ceccon
Translational Lung Cancer Research 2014, 3 (6): 376-8
Ceritinib, also known as LDK-378 or Zykadia (Novartis), is a second generation inhibitor able to specifically target the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). In the last five years the interest for ALK small inhibitors grew rapidly, mainly because it was discovered that a small but significant percentage of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients carries the oncogenic fusion protein EML4-ALK, in addition to about half percent of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) patients, an aggressive but definitely rarer non Hodgkin's T cell lymphoma, and other malignancies. Moreover the first ALK inhibitor, crizotinib (Xalkori or PF02341066) was successfully approved for the treatment of late stages or metastatic ALK+ NSCLC, giving a new, safer therapeutic option for those patients. As predicted from previous clinical experience with other kinase inhibitors, crizotinib resistance inevitably occurred, so the clinical availability of new compounds able to overcome crizotinib resistance became a priority. Recently the first clinical data from the phase I trial on ceritinib were published (N Engl J Med 2014;370:1189-97): 59 patients were enrolled in the dose-escalation phase while additional 71 patients were treated in the following expansion phase. For 19 patients relapsed upon crizotinib treatment, ceritinib was used as second line therapy. Collectively, ORR was 58%, 56% for patients who received crizotinib before. Maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was established at 750 mg daily, but more than half patients had to reduce the drug dose because of adverse events. Finally PFS was 7.0 months. Here we discuss the clinical data presented in this article, comparing ceritinib with the first line inhibitor crizotinib and another second generation ALK inhibitor, alectinib (Chugai-Roche).

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