Crizotinib superior to chemo for advanced ALK positive NSCLC

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Published: 6 Jun 2013
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Dr Suresh S. Ramalingam - Emory University, Atlanta, USA

Dr Ramalingam gives a comment at ASCO 2013 on two papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirming crizotinib as superior to chemotherapy for the treatment of previously treated, advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with ALK rearrangement.

Read the full paper here

ASCO 2013

Crizotinib superior to chemo for advanced ALK positive NSCLC

Dr Suresh S. Ramalingam - Emory University, Atlanta, USA

 

Basically, what this trial was to compare crizotinib to salvage chemotherapy for ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer patients. What we’re seeing… To take a step back, you might recall crizotinib was approved based on a single arm trial that included about 120-130 patients. There was no randomised comparison to see how it would compare to standard therapies. So this trial you’re seeing compares crizotinib with standard therapy and there we see clear progression free survival benefit for patients treated with crizotinib as long as they have the ALK translocation.

Can you tell me about the drug you have been using?

I think we now can say that crizotinib is better than standard therapy in patients who have the ALK translocation, that’s about 5-7% of all lung adenocarcinomas. It’s a therapy that’s tolerated well and the median progression free survival is nearly 7.5 months in the salvage setting and perhaps longer in patients who get it up-front.

What is your message to doctors on these papers from Boston?

It confirms our understanding that for patients with ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer ALK inhibition with crizotinib remains an excellent form of therapy and should be preferred for those patients.