Data Confirm Anti-ALK Activity in Rare NSCLC

The gist: This article discusses the results of a clinical trial—a research study with volunteer patients. The goal of the trial was to test whether the drug crizotinib (Xalkori) works for certain people with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). All of the patients who participated in the trial had a tumor mutation known as a ROS1 rearrangement, which can be detected using molecular testing. When treated with Xalkori, these patients experienced promising results. The researchers say the results highlight the importance of molecular testing for ROS1 rearrangement in people with advanced NSCLC.

“Objective responses occurred in 72% of patients with mutation-specific non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with crizotinib (Xalkori), final results from a small clinical trial showed.

“Median response duration approached 1½ years, and median progression-free survival (PFS) had reached 19.2 months with follow-up ongoing.

“All 50 patients enrolled in the study had chromosomal rearrangements in ROS1, which several lines of evidence suggested would be susceptible to ALK inhibitors such as crizotinib, Alice T. Shaw, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, reported here at the European Society of Medical Oncology.

” ‘ROS1 rearrangement defines a second molecular subgroup of NSCLC for which crizotinib is highly active,’ Shaw and colleagues concluded in an article published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine. ‘In the majority of patients, crizotinib induced durable clinical responses and was associated with grade 2 or lower toxic effects.

” ‘These results highlight the importance of screening for this genetic alteration in patients with advanced NSCLC.’ “