Alk-rearranged lung adenocarcinoma: From molecular genetics to therapeutic targeting.
Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) is a potent oncogenic driver of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). ALK is constitutively activated by gene fusion events between the ALK and other gene fusion partners in about 2-3% of LUADs, characterized by few other gene alterations. ALK -fusions are a druggable target through potent pharmacological inhibitors of tyrosine kinase activity. Thus, several ALK-TKIs (Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors) of first-, second- and third-generation have been developed that improved the outcomes of ALK -rearranged LUADs when used as first- or second-line agents. However, resistance mechanisms greatly limit the durability of the therapeutic effects elicited by these TKIs. The molecular mechanisms responsible for these resistance mechanisms have been in part elucidated, but overcoming acquired resistance to ALK-derived therapy remains a great challenge. Some new therapeutic strategies under investigation aim to induce long-term remission in ALK -fusion positive LUADs.
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