ALK Mutation Variant May Affect Response to Targeted Agents

Excerpt:

“Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-targeting agents such as crizotinib may work most effectively in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with ALK variant 1, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Because the magnitude of response as well as durations of response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that target ALK varies among ALK-positive NSCLC patients, Tatsuya Yoshida, MD, PhD, of the Aichi Cancer Center Hospital in Japan, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of crizotinib among 35 patients whose ALK variant could be determined and who received the treatment as their initial ALK-TKI.

“Ten of the patients received crizotinib as a first-line treatment, while the majority, 18 patients, received the oral drug as a second-line therapy. The median progression-free survival (PFS) among patients in the study was 9.7 months.”

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Lung Cancer Highlights from ASCO 2016


This year, the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) did not produce any truly groundbreaking revelations about new treatments for lung cancer. However, researchers did report quite a few positive findings, and some disappointing ones. I have summarized some of the more prominent presentations below. Continue reading…


Brigatinib Shows Promise in ALK-Positive NSCLC After Crizotinib Therapy

Excerpt:

“The investigational tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) brigatinib offered good response rates in a pivotal phase II trial of patients with ALK-positive non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease progressed on crizotinib. The results were presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held June 3–7 in Chicago (abstract 9007).

“ ‘Most ALK-positive NSCLC patients treated with crizotinib eventually progress, often due to acquired ALK resistance mutations and/or poor CNS drug penetration,’ said Dong-Wan Kim, MD, PhD, of Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, who presented the study.

“Brigatinib, a next-generation ALK TKI designed to have broad activity against resistant ALK mutants, showed promising clinical activity in a phase I/II study of crizotinib-treated ALK-positive NSCLC patients. The new open-label phase II ALTA study included 222 patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC who had progressive disease on crizotinib. Patients were randomized to two brigatinib treatment regimens: group A (112 patients) received oral brigatinib 90 mg once per day, and group B (110 patients) received the same dose for 7 days followed by 180 mg once per day.”

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Crizotinib Tops Chemo for ALK-Positive NSCLC With Brain Metastases

Excerpt:

“First-line crizotinib therapy offered better intracranial disease control rate (IC-DCR) than chemotherapy in patients with ALK-positive non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and stable treated brain metastases, according to results of a phase III study.

“Earlier results from the ongoing PROFILE 1014 trial showed that crizotinib offers better progression-free survival (PFS) and response rates compared with pemetrexed-platinum chemotherapy. ‘Although the development of targeted therapies has improved outcomes for selected patient populations with oncogenic driver mutations, brain metastases are frequent and result in significant morbidity and mortality in patients with lung cancer,’ wrote study authors led by Benjamin J. Solomon, MBBS, PhD, of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in East Melbourne, Australia.”

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FDA Expands Use of Xalkori to Treat Rare Form of Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Xalkori (crizotinib) to treat people with advanced (metastatic) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have an ROS-1 gene alteration. Xalkori is the first and only FDA approved treatment for patients with ROS-1 positive NSCLC.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with an estimated 221,200 new diagnoses and 158,040 deaths in 2015, according to the National Cancer Institute.  ROS-1 gene alterations, thought to lead to abnormal cells, have been identified in various cancers, including NSCLC. ROS-1 gene alterations are present in approximately 1 percent of patients with NSCLC. The overall patient and disease characteristics of NSCLC with ROS-1 gene alterations appear similar to NSCLC with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene alterations, for which crizotinib use was previously approved. Xalkori was approved to treat certain patients with late-stage NSCLC that expresses an abnormal ALK gene in 2011.”


Chugai’s ALK Inhibitor “Alecensa®” Trial Stopped Early for Benefit

“Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TOKYO: 4519) announced that it received a recommendation by an independent data monitoring committee (IDMC) that the J-ALEX Study, a phase III study targeting ALK fusion gene positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) being conducted in Japan, should be stopped early as the study met its primary endpoint at a pre-planned interim analysis. The study showed that patients lived significantly longer without disease worsening (progression-free survival, PFS) when treated with Alecensa® compared to crizotinib.

“The J-ALEX study is an open-label, randomized phase III study that compares the efficacy and safety between Alecensa and crizotinib. The J-ALEX study enrolled 207 patients with ALK fusion gene positive advanced or recurrent NSCLC who either had not undergone chemotherapy or had undergone one chemotherapy regimen. The subjects were allocated to the Alecensa group or the crizotinib group in a one to one ratio.”


Alectinib Highly Active in Advanced ALK-Positive NSCLC

“Alectinib showed promising activity in patients with advanced, crizotinib-refractory, ALK-positive non–small cell lung cancer, according to results of a global phase 2 study.

“The regimen also appeared well tolerated.

“In December, the FDA granted accelerated approval to alectinib (Alecensa, Genentech) — an oral, small molecule, ATP-competitive tyrosine kinase inhibitor of ALK — for treatment of patients with metastatic ALK-positive NSCLC who progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib (Xalkori, Pfizer).”


Personalizing Cancer Therapies May Combat Resistance to Targeted Therapy Drugs

“The use of drugs that target genetic mutations driving the growth of tumors has revolutionized treatment for several serious forms of cancer, but in almost every case, tumors become resistant to the drugs’ therapeutic effects and resume growth, often through the emergence of new mutations, which has spurred the development of more powerful drugs that can overcome resistance mutations. In the Dec. 24 issue of New England Journal of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) physicians report their study examining the evolution of drug resistance in a lung cancer patient treated with multiple different targeted therapies. When resistance developed to the third targeted therapy, the new mutation actually restored the cancer’s response to the very first targeted therapy drug used to treat the patient.”


FDA Grants Genentech’s Alecensa® (Alectinib) Accelerated Approval for People with a Specific Type of Lung Cancer

“Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to Alecensa® (alectinib) for the treatment of people with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib. In the pivotal studies, Alecensa shrank tumors in up to 44 percent of people with ALK-positive NSCLC who progressed on crizotinib (objective response rate [ORR] of 38 percent [95 percent CI 28-49] and 44 percent [95 percent CI 36-53]). In a subset of people with tumors that spread to the brain or other parts of the central nervous system (CNS), Alecensa shrank CNS tumors in about 60 percent of people (CNS ORR of 61 percent [95 percent CI 46-74]).”