This is a phase IV multicenter trial to evaluate the mechanisms of resistance and pharmacoeconomic (PE) impact of crizotinib and its companion diagnostic test used in a real-life setting in advanced ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
NSCLC represent 80% of all new cases of lung cancer. One molecular subtype of NSCLC is the ALK-positive subtype. The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase. Activation of ALK occurs through the formation of gene fusions and in NSCLC, the gene fusion partner for ALK is primarily EML4. The resulting fusion protein is capable of activating the ALK kinase domain, leading to cell growth. The estimated prevalence for ALK rearrangements in NSCLC is 3-5%, and is more commonly found amongst patients with adenocarcinoma histology, in never smokers and in those who are known to be wild type for EGFR and KRAS.
Crizotinib is a potent inhibitor of ALK and is approved for the treatment of advanced ALK+ NSCLC patients. This is an example of personalized medicine, where patients are selected for treatment based upon a molecular assay, and are provided a specific therapy (crizotinib) for their disease. The pharmacoeconomic impact of using genetic information in early treatment decisions in NSCLC has not been determined. Despite the benefits of crizotinib, some patients do not respond to treatment and most patients will eventually develop resistance. To date, it is unclear why some rare patients do not respond to treatment and the resistance mechanisms of crizotinib have not been fully elucidated.
The study will address two anticipated issues surrounding personalized medicine and treatment with crizotinib:
- it will enable real-life Heath Economics and Outcome Research (HEOR)
- it will validate and/or identify new blood-based or tissue-based biomarkers of resistance to crizotinib.
At least 30 patients will be recruited in Quebec and Ontario for the PE study. Patients will be asked to complete quality-of-life questionnaires at regular intervals in a real-life setting of treatment with crizotinib.
Approximately 25 patients will be recruited to the biomarker sub-study in Quebec to understand resistance mechanisms of crizotinib. In these patients, a biopsy from any accessible metastatic lesion will be obtained when the patient is no longer responding to treatment, as well as blood sampling during regular treatment visits.