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Crizotinib shows promise against some types of NSCLC.

Early data from a phase I trial of crizotinib, a small-molecule drug that blocks the action of a gene called ALK, has shown the drug's benefit in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The new study reports that more than half of patients with the ALK arrangement had partial or complete shrinkage of their tumors.

The study reported that 46 of the 82 patients with NSCLC had a partial response (their tumors shrank by at least 30% in diameter) and one had a complete response. An additional 27 patients had stable disease (i.e., their tumors stopped growing during treatment). Most of the patients had already received two or more therapies by the time they entered the trial. The researchers estimated the probability of being alive without progression of disease after six months of treatment to be 72%. Crizotinib led to few major side effects; the most common low-grade effects included nausea, diarrhea, and mild visual disturbances.

According to the researchers, ALK is present in 3%-5% of lung cancer tumors, primarily those in patients who do not smoke. Although the percentage is small, the large number of lung cancer cases diagnosed each year means that the number of patients who could benefit from treatment with crizotinib could approach 10,000 annually in the United States. A phase III trial of crizotinib is ongoing.


Butrynski, J.E., D'Adamo, D.R., Hornick, J.L., Dal Cin, P., Antonescu, C.R., Jhanwar, S.C., . . . Shapiro, G.I. (2010). Crizotinib in ALKrearranged inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor. New England Journal of Medicine, 363, 1727-1733.

[By Deborah McBride, RN, MSN, CPON[R], Contributor]
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Title Annotation:just in; non-small cell lung cancer
Author:McBride, Deborah
Publication:ONS Connect
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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