Xalkori™ (crizotinib) Targeted Therapy More Effective Than Chemotherapy for Treatment of Lung Cancer

A new drug Xalkori (crizotinib) is more beneficial than chemotherapy for certain individuals with lung cancer according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and around the world, highlighting the importance of developing effective new approaches to treatment. Ninety percent of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and ~ 7 percent of NSCLC patients have an abnormal version of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. Lung cancers with this abnormality typically occur in non-smokers. The abnormal gene contributes to the growth and development of cancer cells.

Xalkori is designed to treat patients with NSCLC whose cancers contain an overactive version of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase protein.

The current clinical trial involved 343 NSCLC patients with overactive ALK who were divided into two groups and the results of their treatment directly compared. One group received Xalkori and the other group was treated with a standard chemotherapy regimen using pemetrexed, and either carboplatin or cisplatin.

On average, individuals treated with Xalkori experienced control of their cancer for almost 11 months compared to only 7 months for those receiving the chemotherapy treatment regimen. Xalkoritreated patients also experienced a greater reduction in symptoms related to their cancer and improved quality of life.


Solomon, B., et al. (2014). First-Line Crizotinib versus Chemotherapy in ALK-Positive Lung Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 371 (23), 2167-2177 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1408440

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