Diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the lung, a major subtype of non-small lung cancer (NSCLC), nowadays triggers mandatory testing of tumor tissue for alterations in four genes: EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and more recently, BRAF. If present, these alterations predict sensitivity to specific targeted drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that work better and often longer than standard chemotherapy, and are better tolerated.
However, there are many more targetable/actionable genomic alterations (also known as “drivers”) in NSCLC. This blog post will briefly discuss most of them, with the goal of promoting molecular testing for more than the four “usual suspects” mentioned above. Some patients with these alterations may benefit from FDA-approved drugs or from enrollment in clinical trials that are testing additional drugs and drug combinations. Continue reading…
“An update of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) clinical practice guideline clarifies the role of immunotherapy in the treatment of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The update also provides new recommendations on the use of targeted therapies for patients with changes in tumor EGFR, ALK, and ROS1 genes.
” ‘Treatment for lung cancer has become increasingly more complex over the last several years. This guideline update provides oncologists the tools to choose therapies that are most likely to benefit their patients,’ said Nasser Hanna, MD, co-chair of the Expert Panel that developed the guideline update.”
“Doubling the dose of the ALK inhibitor brigatinib (Alunbrig) improved outcomes in patients with crizotinib (Xalkori)-refractory non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a dose-comparison study showed.
“Patients who started treatment at 90 mg/day and titrated to 180 mg/day had improved response rate (54% versus 45%) and progression-free survival (PFS) as compared with those who received 90 mg throughout the treatment period. Response in brain metastases improved by 50% with the higher dose.”
“Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) and granted Priority Review for Alecensa® (alectinib) as an initial (first-line) treatment for people with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive, locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as detected by an FDA-approved test. The FDA will make a decision on approval by November 30, 2017.
” ‘Phase III results showed Alecensa reduced the risk of disease worsening by more than half compared to the current standard of care and lowered the risk of tumors spreading to or growing in the brain by more than 80 percent,’ said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. ‘We are working closely with the FDA to bring this medicine as an initial treatment for people with ALK-positive NSCLC as soon as possible.’ ”
“Lorlatinib exhibits durable responses in pretreated patients with ALK-positive non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and promising intracranial activity and tumor responses in those patients who have brain metastases, regardless of prior therapy, according to findings from a phase I/II clinical study (abstract 9006) presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held June 2–6 in Chicago.
” ‘Lorlatinib demonstrated clinically meaningful and durable responses in ALK-positive patients receiving one or more prior ALK TKI [tyrosine kinase inhibitor], many of whom were heavily pretreated,’ said coauthor Sai-Hong Ignatius Ou, MD, of the University of California Irvine Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in Orange, California.”
“On May 26, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted regular approval to ceritinib (ZYKADIA, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.) for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive as detected by an FDA-approved test.
“In April 2014, ceritinib received accelerated approval for patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC whose disease has progressed or who are intolerant to crizotinib based on a blinded independent review committee (BIRC)-assessed overall response rate (ORR) of 44% among 163 patients in a single-arm trial.”
“About 3-5 percent of lung cancers are caused by changes in the gene ALK. In 2011, the FDA granted accelerated approval for the drug crizotinib to target these ALK changes. However, two major problems have remained: Crizotinib does not pass into the brain and so is unable to target ALK-positive lung cancer in the central nervous system, and the genetic diversity of cancer allows the later growth of subpopulations that can resist the drug, leading to renewed growth. In response, researchers have been actively developing next-generation ALK-inhibitors.
“Results of a multi-center, 222-person phase 2 clinical trial of the next-generation ALK inhibitor, brigatinib at 180mg/day, used after failure of crizotinib showed a 54 percent response rate and 12.9 month progression-free survival. (Effects were lower at a lower dose.) Results are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”
“On Friday evening, Takeda Pharmaceuticals announced the FDA has approved Alunbrig (brigatinib) to treat patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive (ALK+) metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib.
“Brigatinib is a kinase inhibitor that can be taken orally. The recommended dose is 90 mg orally once daily for the first 7 days. If 90 mg is tolerated during the first 7 days, patient should increase the dose to 180 mg orally once daily. The pill can be taken with or without food.”
“The FDA has granted a breakthrough therapy designation to lorlatinib for use in patients with ALK-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have previously received 1 or more ALK inhibitors, according to Pfizer, the company developing the next-generation ALK/ROS1 tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).
” ‘This regulatory designation recognizes the potential for lorlatinib to provide an important treatment option for patients with ALK-positive NSCLC whose cancers have progressed despite treatment,’ Mace Rothenberg, MD, chief development officer, Oncology, Pfizer Global Product Development, said in a release. ‘Pfizer’s rapid development of lorlatinib reflects a commitment to developing biomarker-driven therapies to meet the evolving needs of patients.’ ”