Role of anaplastic lymphoma kinase inhibition in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer

Katie Croegaert, Jill M Kolesar
American Journal of Health-system Pharmacy: AJHP 2015 September 1, 72 (17): 1456-62

PURPOSE: Published data on the clinical efficacy, safety, dosage and administration, and costs of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors crizotinib and ceritinib in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are reviewed and compared.

SUMMARY: The ALK protein functions as a transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase; rearrangements of the ALK gene are associated with the development of NSCLC with adenocarcinoma histology. Crizotinib is an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved in 2011 as a first-line therapy for patients with metastatic ALK mutation-driven NSCLC. Significantly improved response rates and progression-free survival (PFS) have been reported with the use of crizotinib therapy versus standard chemotherapy, but mutations conferring resistance to treatment develop in most cases. The second-generation ALK inhibitor ceritinib was approved in 2014 for the treatment of ALK-mutated NSCLC in patients who are intolerant or develop resistance to crizotinib. In a clinical trial of ceritinib involving 130 patients with ALK-positive NSCLC, the majority of whom had experienced disease progression during crizotinib use, patients receiving at least 400 mg of ceritinib daily had an overall response rate of 56% and median PFS of seven months. Adverse effects commonly reported with the use of either drug include visual disturbances, gastrointestinal disorders (e.g., diarrhea), and liver enzyme abnormalities.

CONCLUSION: The tyrosine kinase inhibitors crizotinib and ceritinib provide an effective treatment approach for patients with ALK-mutated NSCLC. Efficacy data for both crizotinib and ceritinib indicate improved response rates and PFS with the use of either drug as an alternative to standard chemotherapy.

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