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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Alecensa (alectinib) to treat people with advanced (metastatic) ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has worsened after, or who could not tolerate treatment with, another therapy called Xalkori (crizotinib).
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with an estimated 221,200 new diagnoses and 158,040 deaths in 2015, according to the National Cancer Institute. An ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) gene mutation can occur in several different types of cancer cells, including lung cancer cells. ALK gene mutations are present in about 5 percent of patients with NSCLC. In metastatic cancer, the disease spreads to new parts of the body. In ALK-positive NSCLC metastatic patients, the brain is a common place for the disease to spread.
The most common side effects of Alecensa are fatigue, constipation, swelling (edema) and muscle pain (myalgia). Alecensa may cause serious side effects, including liver problems, severe or life-threatening inflammation of the lungs, very slow heartbeats and severe muscle problems. Treatment with Alecensa may cause sunburn when patients are exposed to sunlight.
For more information, please visit: Alecensa