Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for 87% of all lung cancer cases and some 5% of NSCLC cases are ALK-positive. This implies that they have genetic abnormality in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene.
According to the new study led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) published in the New England Journal of Medicine, lung cancer patients with specific genetic alteration lived longer when treated early with drug Lorlatinib. First and second generation ALK inhibitors have been in development since 2008 and Lorlatinib is a third-generation ALK-inhibitor that has been approved for ALK-positive patients where cancer has progressed after taking older-generation inhibitors. Based on the interim analysis, the study authors have concluded that ALK-positive NSCLC patients who received Loratinib experienced significantly longer PFS and had intracranial responses more often when compared to patients in the crizotinib group.
Lorlatinib is a third-generation inhibitor of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and has anti-tumor activity in previously treated patients with ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer. Lorlatinib is currently approved for use in patients who have received advanced despite treatment with past generations of ALK inhibitors. The first-generation and second-generations of ALK inhibitors can be very effective but patients are at risk of metastasis too brain.
Benjamin Solomon, MD, Department of Medical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, said, “Biomarker-driven medicines have improved outcomes for people living with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer, but innovative therapies are still needed to delay disease progression.”
The trial is still ongoing and has shown promising results so far but the researchers need to continue to follow lung cancer patients to track long-term outcomes like overall survival.
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