The emerging role of ALK inhibitors in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Domenico Galetta, Antonio Rossi, Salvatore Pisconti, Giuseppe Colucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Most NSCLC patients are diagnosed in the advanced stage of the disease. Recently, chemotherapeutic agents have reached a plateau of effectiveness. Increased understanding of cancer biology has revealed several potential therapeutic strategies that have led to marketing of new biologic agents. The echinoderm microtubule-associated protein like-4-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (EML4-ALK) fusion oncogene represents one of the newest molecular targets in NSCLC, identifying a subset of NSCLC patients characterized by distinct clinicopathological features. Areas covered: The available results concerning ALK inhibitors for the treatment of advanced NSCLC patients. An electronic search was used to retrieve the articles addressing this topic. Expert opinion: In a pivotal Phase I clinical trial, crizotinib (PF-02341066), a small-molecule ALK inhibitor, demonstrated impressive antitumor activity in the majority of NSCLC patients with ALK fusions. Phase III randomized trials investigating crizotinib in this subgroup of patients are ongoing. If the results from these large international trials confirm the efficacy of crizotinib in the subset of patients, the next few years could see the treatment of advanced NSCLC patients with ALK fusions. Specific inhibitors would realize the so called personalized medicine in subsets of this disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • ALK translocation
  • crizotinib
  • target therapies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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