Characteristics and outcomes of ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer patients in Korea

Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology. Oct 2017;13(5):e239-e245


This study aimed to describe characteristics, treatment patterns and survival among Korean patients diagnosed with locally advanced or metastatic anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)+ non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


A retrospective patient chart review was conducted in major cancer centers in Korea in 2014-2015. Participating physicians reviewed patient charts and reported characteristics, treatment patterns, clinician-defined progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of ALK+ locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC patients. PFS and OS were estimated using Kaplan-Meier analysis.


Physicians reported on 55 ALK+ NSCLC patients. Median age at locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC diagnosis was 60 years. Most patients (82%) received initial chemotherapy; 13% received an ALK inhibitor in the first line; 62% received an ALK inhibitor by the end of follow-up. Of the 30 patients who received crizotinib, 83% discontinued and 13% died during crizotinib therapy. Median PFS on crizotinib was 6.7 months. Of those who discontinued, 32% switched to chemotherapy, 16% switched to a different ALK inhibitor and 52% received no further therapy. After discontinuing crizotinib, median OS was 6.0 months overall, and 3.4 months among patients who did not receive a second-generation ALK inhibitor.


In this study of locally advanced or metastatic ALK+ NSCLC patients in Korea, roughly one-third did not receive an ALK inhibitor. Among patients who discontinued crizotinib, over half received no further antineoplastic therapy and OS was poor, particularly among patients without second-generation ALK inhibitor use. These findings suggest a need for greater access to effective treatments following crizotinib discontinuation for ALK+ NSCLC patients in Korea.

View abstract


Lim SH, Yoh KA, Lee JS, Ahn MJ, Kim YJ, Kim SH, Zhang J, Patel D, Swallow E, Kageleiry A, Galebach P, Lee D, Stein K, Degun R, Park K