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Development of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors and molecular diagnosis in ALK rearrangement-positive lung cancer

Authors Iwama E, Okamoto I, Harada T, Takayama K, Nakanishi Y

Received 25 November 2013

Accepted for publication 29 December 2013

Published 5 March 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 375—385


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Eiji Iwama,1,2 Isamu Okamoto,3 Taishi Harada,2 Koichi Takayama,2 Yoichi Nakanishi2,3

1Department of Comprehensive Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 2Research Institute for Diseases of the Chest, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Kyushu University Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan

Abstract: The fusion of echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) was identified as a transforming gene for lung cancer in 2007. This genetic rearrangement accounts for 2%–5% of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases, occurring predominantly in younger individuals with adenocarcinoma who are never- or light smokers. A small-molecule tyrosine-kinase inhibitor of ALK, crizotinib, was rapidly approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on the basis of its pronounced clinical activity in patients with ALK rearrangement-positive NSCLC. Next-generation ALK inhibitors, such as alectinib, LDK378, and AP26113, are also being developed in ongoing clinical trials. In addition, the improvement and validation of methods for the detection of ALK rearrangement in NSCLC patients will be key to the optimal clinical use of ALK inhibitors. We here summarize recent progress in the development of new ALK inhibitors and in the molecular diagnosis of ALK rearrangement-positive NSCLC.

Keywords: ALK, rearrangement, NSCLC, ALK inhibitor, targeted therapy, diagnosis

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