About 5% of non-small cell lung cancer cases are ALK+, which means there is a rearrangement in a gene called the ALK gene. This produces an abnormal type of protein that causes cells to grow and spread.
Have you been tested for ALK+ NSCLC?
To establish if an ALK mutation (gene rearrangement) is causing your lung cancer, your doctor needs to request a special type of genetic test designed to detect if the ALK gene rearrangement is present in your tumour. If the ALK gene rearrangement is detected, Alecensa is likely to be a suitable treatment for your cancer. Not all patients in New Zealand with NSCLC are tested for the ALK rearrangement. If you’re not sure if you’ve had one of these tests, talk to your doctor who will be able to advise you.
Clinical trial data
In a large clinical trial called the ALEX study, Alecensa was compared to crizotinib (another medicine used to treat ALK+ lung cancer), in people newly diagnosed with advanced or metastatic ALK+ NSCLC.
The study showed that people taking Alecensa, had their cancer controlled for more than 3 times as long (34.8 months), without growing or spreading, compared to the group taking crizotinib (10.9 months).
Alecensa was also able to shrink the size of tumours that had spread to the brain in 81% of patients, compared to 50% of patients using crizotinib.
Possible side effects of Alecensa
Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
How to access Alecensa
From 1st December 2019, Alecensa is fully funded by PHARMAC for those who meet pre-defined criteria. For more information talk to your doctor.
Ready to take the next step?
Because every situation is different, it’s important to speak to your doctor to find out if Alecensa is right for you.
If you’re now considering treatment with Alecensa
We’ve put together a discussion guide to help you begin a conversation with your doctor. Print it off, take it along to your next appointment, and take notes in the spaces provided.