The anaplastic lymphoma kinase in the pathogenesis of cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2008 Jan;8(1):11-23. doi: 10.1038/nrc2291.


Tyrosine kinases are involved in the pathogenesis of most cancers. However, few tyrosine kinases have been shown to have a well-defined pathogenetic role in lymphomas. The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is the oncogene of most anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL), driving transformation through many molecular mechanisms. In this Review, we will analyse how translocations or deregulated expression of ALK contribute to oncogenesis and how recent genetic or pharmacological tools, aimed at neutralizing its activity, can represent the basis for the design of powerful combination therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / classification
  • Lymphoma / enzymology*
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / enzymology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / genetics
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / enzymology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Translocation, Genetic


  • ALK protein, human
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases