|Elimination half-life||42 hours|
|Excretion||Faeces (63%), urine (22%)|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||450.337 g/mol g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
|(what is this?)|
Crizotinib (trade name Xalkori, Pfizer) is an anti-cancer drug acting as an ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) and ROS1 (c-ros oncogene 1) inhibitor, approved for treatment of some non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) in the US and some other countries, and undergoing clinical trials testing its safety and efficacy in anaplastic large cell lymphoma, neuroblastoma, and other advanced solid tumors in both adults and children.
Mechanism of action
Crizotinib has an aminopyridine structure, and functions as a protein kinase inhibitor by competitive binding within the ATP-binding pocket of target kinases. About 4% of patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma have a chromosomal rearrangement that generates a fusion gene between EML4 ('echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4') and ALK ('anaplastic lymphoma kinase'), which results in constitutive kinase activity that contributes to carcinogenesis and seems to drive the malignant phenotype. The kinase activity of the fusion protein is inhibited by crizotinib. Patients with this gene fusion are typically younger non-smokers who do not have mutations in either the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) or in the K-Ras gene. The number of new cases of ALK-fusion NSLC is about 9,000 per year in the U.S. and about 45,000 worldwide.
ALK mutations are thought to be important in driving the malignant phenotype in about 15% of cases of neuroblastoma, a rare form of peripheral nervous system cancer that occurs almost exclusively in very young children.
Crizotinib is currently thought to exert its effects through modulation of the growth, migration, and invasion of malignant cells. Other studies suggest that crizotinib might also act via inhibition of angiogenesis in malignant tumors.
Approvals and indications
On August 26, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved crizotinib (Xalkori) to treat certain late-stage (locally advanced or metastatic) non-small cell lung cancers that express the abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. Approval required a companion molecular test for the EML4-ALK fusion. In March 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved crizotinib in ROS1-positive non-small cell lung cancer.
Crizotinib caused tumors to shrink or stabilize in 90% of 82 patients carrying the ALK fusion gene. Tumors shrank at least 30% in 57% of people treated.  Most had adenocarcinoma, and had never smoked or were former smokers. They had undergone treatment with an average of three other drugs prior to receiving crizotinib, and only 10% were expected to respond to standard therapy. They were given 250 mg crizotinib twice daily for a median duration of six months. Approximately 50% of these patients suffered at least one side effect, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Some responses to crizotinib have lasted up to 15 months.
A phase 3 trial, PROFILE 1007, compares crizotinib to standard second line chemotherapy (pemetrexed or taxotere) in the treatment of ALK-positive NSCLC. Additionally, a phase 2 trial, PROFILE 1005, studies patients meeting similar criteria who have received more than one line of prior chemotherapy.
In February 2016 the J-ALEX phase III study comparing alectinib with crizotinib ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC was terminated early because an interim analysis showed that progression-free survival was longer with alectinib. These results were confirmed in a 2017 analysis.
- ALK inhibitor
- Targeted molecular therapy for neuroblastoma
- Entrectinib - ALK/ROS1/NTRK inhibitor in phase II clinical testing
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- Chugai’s ALK Inhibitor “Alecensa” Trial Stopped Early for Benefit. Feb 2016
- FDA approves Alecensa for ALK-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer Nov 2017