How Fear of COVID-19 Can Affect Treatment Choices for Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphomas ALK+ Therapy: A Case Report

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Jan 31;9(2):135. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9020135.


Background: The t (2; 5) chromosomal rearrangement of the ALK gene with nucleophosmin 1 gene (NPM1), resulting in an NPM1-ALK fusion, was first demonstrated in 1994 in anaplastic large cell lymphoma, (ALCL), a T-cell lymphoma responsive to cyclophosphamide, abriblastine, vincristine and prednisone in approximately 80% of cases; refractory cases usually respond favorably to brentuximab vedotin. These treatments are regarded as a bridge to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT). Nowadays, transplant procedures and the monitoring of chemotherapy patients proceed very slowly because the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has heavily clogged the hospitals in all countries.

Results: A 40-year-old Caucasian woman was first seen at our clinical center in June 2020. She had ALCL ALK+, a history of failure to two previous therapeutic lines and was in complete remission after 12 courses of brentuximab, still pending allo-SCT after two failed donor selections. Facing a new therapeutic failure, we requested and obtained authorization from the Italian drug regulatory agency to administer 250 mg of crizotinib twice a day, a drug incomprehensibly not registered for ALCL ALK +.

Conclusions: The response to crizotinib was optimal since no adverse event occurred, and CT-PET scans persisted negative; this drug has proved to be a valid bridge to allo-SCT.

Keywords: ALK+ patients; anaplastic large cell lymphomas ALK+; anticancer therapy; bridge therapy in NHL ALK+; crizotinib.

Publication types

  • Case Reports