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Cancer Discov. 2012 Jun;2(6):495-502. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-12-0009. Epub 2012 May 21.

ALKoma: a cancer subtype with a shared target.

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Division of Functional Genomics, Jichi Medical University, Tochigi, Japan.


Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a receptor-type protein tyrosine kinase that is currently the focus of much attention in oncology. ALK is rendered oncogenic as a result of its fusion to NPM1 in anaplastic large cell lymphoma, to TPM3 or TPM4 in inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, to EML4 in non-small cell lung carcinoma, and to VCL in renal medullary carcinoma. It is also activated as a result of missense mutations in neuroblastoma and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Whereas these various tumors arise in different organs, they share activated ALK, and a marked clinical efficacy with ALK inhibitors has already been shown for some of the tumors with ALK fusions. One of such compound, crizotinib, is now approved in the United States for the treatment of lung cancer positive for ALK rearrangement. I propose that tumors carrying abnormal ALK as an essential growth driver be collectively termed "ALKoma."

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