Anaplastic lymphoma kinase fusions: Roles in cancer and therapeutic perspectives (Review)

Published on Dec 20, 2018in Oncology Letters2.967
· DOI :10.3892/OL.2018.9856
Zhi-Fa Cao2
Estimated H-index: 2
(ZSTU: Zhejiang Sci-Tech University),
Qian Gao1
Estimated H-index: 1
(NKU: Nankai University)
+ 3 AuthorsWen-Bin Ou24
Estimated H-index: 24
(ZSTU: Zhejiang Sci-Tech University)
: Receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) serves a crucial role in brain development. ALK is located on the short arm of chromosome 2 (2p23) and exchange of chromosomal segments with other genes, including nucleophosmin (NPM), echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4) and Trk-fused gene (TFG), readily occurs. Such chromosomal translocation results in the formation of chimeric X-ALK fusion oncoproteins, which possess potential oncogenic functions due to constitutive activation of ALK kinase. These proteins contribute to the pathogenesis of various hematological malignancies and solid tumors, including lymphoma, lung cancer, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMTs), Spitz tumors, renal carcinoma, thyroid cancer, digestive tract cancer, breast cancer, leukemia and ovarian carcinoma. Targeting of ALK fusion oncoproteins exclusively, or in combination with ALK kinase inhibitors including crizotinib, is the most common therapeutic strategy. As is often the case for small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), drug resistance eventually develops via an adaptive secondary mutation in the ALK fusion oncogene, or through engagement of alternative signaling mechanisms. The updated mechanisms of a variety of ALK fusions in tumorigenesis, proliferation and metastasis, in addition to targeted therapies are discussed below.
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