April 24, 2018

Alcensa Provides Longer Symptom Improvement than Xalkori in ALK-positive Lung Cancer


CancerConnect News: Alecensa (alectinib) provides longer symptom improvement than Xalkori (crizotinib) in ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to results presented at the European Lung Cancer Congress in in Geneva, Switzerland.1


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and around the world, highlighting the importance of developing effective new approaches to treatment. Up to 7 percent of NSCLC’s have an abnormal version of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. Lung cancers with this abnormality typically occur in non-smokers. The abnormal gene contributes to the growth and development of cancer cells. Xalkori and Alcensa are both ALK-inhibitors used to treat NSCLC in patients with a mutation of the ALK gene. About 12,500 Americans are diagnosed with ALK-positive NSCLC each year, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology,

The ALEX clinical trial was a head-to-head comparison of Alcensa versus the standard of care Xalkori in patients with ALK-positive NSCLC and the results have been previously published.3  Alcensa improved progression-free survival and prolonged the time to CNS progression compared to Xalkori. Alcensa had a better toxicity profile than Xalkori despite a longer duration of treatment.2

In addition to delaying the time to cancer progression, fewer patients in the Alcensa group reported a clinically meaningful worsening in treatment-related symptoms such as diarrhea, peripheral neuropathy, constipation, dysphagia, appetite loss, and nausea/vomiting.

The study authors concluded that “the improvement in survival combined with the patient-reported outcome data supports the use of Alcensa as a new standard of care in the frontline treatment of patients with ALK-positive lung cancer.”


  1. Abstract 138PD_PR “Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in ALEX: A phase III study of Alcensa (ALEC) vs Xalkori (CRIZ) in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)” presented by Maurice Pérol during the Poster Discussion session “Immunotherapy and next-generation TKIs: from second to frontline treatment” on Thursday 12 April, 07:45 to 09:00 (CEST) in Room A.
    Journal of Thoracic Oncology, Volume 13, Issue 4, Supplement, April 2018.
  2. Peters S, Camidge DR, Shaw AT, et al. Alcensa versus Xalkori in Untreated ALK-Positive Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(9):829–838.
    doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1704795.
  3. http://news.cancerconnect.com/alecensa-superior-xalkori-treatment-lung-cancer/

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Tags: Alcensa, Alecensa, alk-positive, Lung Cancer, Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell, non-small cell lung cancer, Uncategorized, xalkori