Crizotinib Highly Tolerable in Lung Cancer

The agent crizotinib (Xalkori®) provides better quality of life for patients with lung cancer than standard chemotherapy. These results were recently published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.
Crizotinib is an agent that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is approved for patients with NSCLC that has spread to distant sites in the body and whose cancers are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive.

The ALK-positive genetic mutation results in a dysfunction in signaling pathways in cells which causes excess replication and survival of cancer cells. The mutation must be tested for by an FDA-approved test.

Crizotinib blocks the proteins formed as a result of the ALK-positive genetic mutation, which decreases replication and survival of cancer cells with the specific mutation.

Researchers recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate quality of life issues among patients treated with crizotinib. The study included over 300 patients with ALK-positive NSCLC. One group of patients had been treated with crizotinib, while the other group had been treated with chemotherapy. Patients were given a questionnaire to evaluate quality of life issues and improvement of symptoms during their treatment.

Patients treated with crizotinib reported significant improvement in physical functioning, global quality of life, fatigue, pain, cough, and shortness of breath.
Crizotinib was associated with worse diarrhea and constipation than chemotherapy.
The researchers concluded that crizotinib significantly improves quality of life measures and as well as symptoms compared to standard chemotherapy agents in patients with NSCLC.

Reference: Blackhall F, Dong-Wan K, More B, et al. Patient-reported outcomes and quality of life in PROFILE 1007: A randomized trial of crizotinib compared with chemotherapy in previously treated patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 2014; 9(11): 1625-1633.