Author(s): Duchemann B, Friboulet L, Besse B
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Abstract With therapeutic approaches based on oncogene addiction offering significant anticancer benefit, the identification of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements is a key aspect of the management of lung cancers. The EML4-ALK gene fusion is detected in 4-8\% of all lung cancers, predominantly in light smokers or nonsmokers. Crizotinib, the first agent to be approved in this indication, is associated with a median progression-free survival of 10.9 months when given as first-line treatment and 7.7 months when administered after chemotherapy. Median overall survival with crizotinib in the second-line setting is 20.3 months. Second-generation ALK inhibitors are currently being evaluated, with early studies giving impressive results, notably in patients resistant to crizotinib or with brain metastases. Among available chemotherapies, pemetrexed appears to be particularly active in this population. Despite this progress, several questions remain unanswered. What detection strategies should be favoured? What underlies the mechanisms of resistance and what options are available to overcome them? What are the best approaches for progressing patients? This review provides an overview of current data in the literature and addresses these questions. Copyright ©ERS 2015.
This article was published in Eur Respir J
and referenced in Diagnostic Pathology: Open Access