Proactive management strategies for potential gastrointestinal adverse reactions with ceritinib in patients with advanced ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer

Cancer Manag Res. 2016 Mar 24;8:33-8. doi: 10.2147/CMAR.S96471. eCollection 2016.


Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene fusions occur in 3%-7% of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases. Ceritinib, a once-daily, oral ALK inhibitor, has activity against crizotinib-resistant and crizotinib-naïve NSCLC, including brain metastases. Ceritinib (Zykadia™) was granted accelerated approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2014 for treating crizotinib-resistant ALK-positive NSCLC. Adverse events (AEs), particularly gastrointestinal (GI) AEs, are commonly experienced at the recommended dose of 750 mg/d and ∼38% of patients require dose interruption or reduction for GI AEs. This case study details our experience with the use of proactive GI AE management regimens in patients treated with ceritinib (750 mg/d) across two study sites. Proactive Regimens A and B were implemented in patients with metastatic ALK-positive NSCLC treated with ceritinib to manage drug-related GI AEs. Regimen A comprised ondansetron and diphenoxylate/atropine or loperamide, taken 30 minutes prior to ceritinib dose. Regimen B included dicyclomine (taken with the first ceritinib dose), ondansetron (taken 30 minutes prior to ceritinib dose for the first seven doses), and loperamide (taken as needed with the onset of diarrhea). The proactive medications were tapered off depending on patient tolerability to ceritinib. Nine patient cases are presented. Starting Regimens A or B before the first dose of ceritinib, or as soon as GI symptoms were encountered, prevented the need for dose reduction due to GI toxicity in eight of the nine patients. Using these regimens, 78% of patients were able to remain on 750 mg/d fasting. Two patients received 23 months and 16 months of therapy and remain on ceritinib 750 mg/d and 600 mg/d, respectively. Although not currently recommended or implemented in clinical studies, based on the patients evaluated here, upfront or proactive treatment plans that address AEs early on can allow the majority of patients to remain on the approved 750 mg/d ceritinib dose.

Keywords: GI symptoms; antidiarrheal; antiemetic; case studies; tolerability.