ALK inhibitor PF02341066 (Crizotinib) increases sensitivity to radiation in non-small cell lung cancer expressing EML4-ALK

Yunguang Sun, Kamila A. Nowak, Nicholas G. Zaorsky, Chia Lin Winchester, Kunal Dalal, Nicholas J. Giacalone, Ningbo Liu, Maria Werner-Wasik, Mariusz A. Wasik, Adam P. Dicker, Bo Lu

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52 Scopus citations


Crizotinib (PF02341066) is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) that has been shown to selectively inhibit growth of cancer cells that harbor the EML4-ALK fusion found in a subset of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). While in clinical trials, PF02341066 has shown a significant therapeutic benefit as a single agent; the effectiveness of combining it with other therapeutic modalities including ionizing radiation remains unknown. To further elucidate the role of PF02341066 in tumor inhibition, we examined its effects alone and in combination with radiation on downstream signaling, apoptosis, and radiosensitivity in two NSCLC cell lines in vitro: H3122, which harbors the EML4-ALK fusion, and H460, which does not. We also examined the in vivo effects of PF02341066 in H3122 mouse xenografts. In the H3122 cell line, PF02341066 inhibited phosphorylation of ALK and its downstream effectors: AKT, ERK, and STAT3. H3122 cells treated with a combination of PF02341066 and radiation showed an increase in cellular apoptosis and were sensitized to radiation therapy (dose enhancement ratio, 1.43; P < 0.0001). Moreover, in an H3122 xenograft model, the combined treatment resulted in greater tumor growth inhibition than either treatment alone (P < 0.05). None of these effects was observed in the EML4-ALK-negative H460 cells. Our findings indicate that PF02341066 acts as a radiation sensitizer in cells harboring the EML4-ALK fusion, providing a rationale for a clinical trial combining ALK inhibitor with radiation in the NSCLCs expressing ALK.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-704
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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