• Open Access

Echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4–anaplastic lymphoma kinase-targeted therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Molecular and clinical aspects



The identification of oncogenic genomic alterations is expected to facilitate the development of new molecularly targeted therapies for cancer. EML4 (echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4)-ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) was recently identified as a transforming fusion gene in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor of ALK, crizotinib, shows pronounced clinical activity in the treatment of patients with NSCLC positive for EML4-ALK, and it has rapidly entered into daily clinical practice. This review focuses on the biology and clinical features of, as well as diagnostic testing for, EML4-ALK-positive NSCLC. Current data on the efficacy and toxicity of crizotinib are also examined, and future directions for the treatment of NSCLC positive for ALK rearrangement are addressed. (Cancer Sci, doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2012.02327.x, 2012)