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Thursday 10 June 2010


The ALK-ELM4 fusion transcript was first described in 2007 in lung cancer (NSCLC).

Patients with this gene inversion are typically non-smokers who do not have mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) or mutations in the KRAS gene.

Approximately 4% of the 220,000 Americans diagnosed with lung cancer each year have the ALK fusion gene, and 45,000 newly diagnosed NSCLC patients are ALK positive worldwide.

Targeted therapy

Crizotinib is an oral ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) inhibitor under study in patients with advanced NSCLC carrying the echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 anaplastic lymphoma kinase (EML4-ALK) fusion gene.

The protein product of this fusion has constitutive kinase activity that is carcinogenic. Crizotinib competes with ATP for the ALK kinase domain of this fusion protein.

See also

- ELM4
- fusion gene / fusion transcript / fusion protein