The marker known as an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) translocation has been all over the lung cancer news in recent weeks, most notably in the setting of being the marker in about 4% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that is correlated with a high probability of response to the ALK inhibitor crizotinib, which was just approved by the FDA for patients whose tumors demonstrate this marker on a test in a central reference laboratory.
The following is the edited transcript and figures from a webinar presentation made by Dr. Heather Wakelee, medical oncologist and Associate Professor at Stanford Cancer Center, on Never-Smokers and Gender Differences in Lung Cancer.
Expert Case Discussion with Drs. Hensing & Jackman, Molecular Markers & Sequencing Therapy for Advanced Squamous Cell NSCLC
Several weeks ago, my colleagues Dr. Tom Hensing from North Shore Health System in Chicago, affiliated with the University of Chicago, and Dr. David Jackman from Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, were kind enough to take the time to go over a series of cases in a webinar format. We reviewed the time line of several patients with advanced NSCLC, focusing on two central questions:
1) For various clinical situations, which molecular markers would you be inclined to recommend?
I thought I'd just take a moment to talk about what I'm finding with regard to ALK rearrangements in patients with NSCLC (see here for review). I hope and expect that there will be more to learn at the ASCO conference in early June, either in the setting of official presentations on the subject or through informal discussions with my colleagues who are also involved with this work.
I'm very pleased to offer the excellent podcast produced from the recent webinar by Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, a leader in the lung cancer field who heads the Thoracic Oncology Program at Emory University in Atlanta. He's also a good friend I've known since our fellowship training days, and he was kind and generous enough to refuse the honorarium we offered for his participation, instead requesting that it be donated back and used for other GRACE programs. Instead, he was happy to do this entirely out of a commitment to the lung cancer community.
Last week, Dr. Ross Camidge from the University of Colorado joined me on a webinar entitled "One Size Does Not Fit All" in which he discussed the early work on ALK rearrangements and the novel agent PF-02341066 (now known as crizotinib) in particular, and the new era of molecularly defined practice of oncology in particular. This story has been widely considered to be among the most important in the field of lung cancer over the last few years, and Dr. Camidge did not disappoint.
We know that many people interested in the topics we discuss in our webinars may not be able to attend the live programs, but we're committed to offering our content to people as easily as possible. Accordingly, here is the podcast version of Dr. Pennell's very well received presentation on a range of molecular markers currently being used and others emerging in clinical trials as potential tools for the coming years.
Below you'll find the audio versions of the presentation.