ALK inhibition for non-small cell lung cancer: from discovery to therapy in record time

Cancer Cell. 2010 Dec 14;18(6):548-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2010.11.033.


It was only 3 years ago that an acquired translocation of EML4 with ALK leading to the expression of an EML4-ALK oncoprotein in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was reported. Tumor cells expressing EML4-ALK are "addicted" to its continued function. Now, crizotinib, an oral ALK inhibitor, is demonstrated to provide dramatic clinical benefit with little toxicity in patients having such advanced NSCLC, and a mechanism of clinical resistance to crizotinib is identified. Such therapy "targeted" at oncogenic proteins provides "personalized" medicine and prompts genome-wide mutation analysis of human tumors to find other therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Translational Medical Research


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