Targeting ALK With Crizotinib in Pediatric Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma and Inflammatory Myofibroblastic Tumor: A Children's Oncology Group Study

J Clin Oncol. 2017 Oct 1;35(28):3215-3221. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.73.4830. Epub 2017 Aug 8.


Purpose Fusions involving the ALK gene are the predominant genetic lesion underlying pediatric anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL) and inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMTs). We assessed the activity of the ALK inhibitor crizotinib in patients who had no known curative treatment options at diagnosis or with relapsed/recurrent disease. Methods In this study, 26 patients with relapsed/refractory ALK-positive ALCL and 14 patients with metastatic or inoperable ALK-positive IMT received crizotinib orally twice daily. Study objectives were measurement of efficacy and safety. Correlative studies evaluated the serial detection of NPM-ALK fusion transcripts in patients with ALCL. Results The overall response rates for patients with ALCL treated at doses of 165 (ALCL165) and 280 (ALCL280) mg/m2 were 83% and 90%, respectively. The overall response rate for patients with IMT (treated at 100, 165, and 280 mg/m2/dose) was 86%. A complete response was observed in 83% (five of six) of ALCL165, 80% (16 of 20) of ALCL280, and 36% (five of 14) of patients with IMT. Partial response rates were 0% (none of six), 10% (two of 20), and 50% (seven of 14), respectively. The median duration of therapy was 2.79, 0.4, and 1.63 years, respectively, with 12 patients ceasing protocol therapy to proceed to transplantation. The most common drug-related adverse event was decrease in neutrophil count in 33% and 70% of the ALCL165 and ALCL280 groups, respectively, and in 43% of patients with IMT. Levels of NPM-ALK decreased during therapy in most patients with ALCL. Conclusion The robust and sustained clinical responses to crizotinib therapy in patients with relapsed ALCL and metastatic or unresectable IMT highlight the importance of the ALK pathway in these diseases.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crizotinib
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / enzymology
  • Male
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / enzymology
  • Neoplasms, Muscle Tissue / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Muscle Tissue / enzymology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Pyrazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrazoles / adverse effects
  • Pyridines / administration & dosage*
  • Pyridines / adverse effects
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism


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