Shelly Engfer-Tribenbach, Dr. Alice Shaw

In this ALK+ Biomarker video you will learn the answers to these questions:

  1. What is ALK+ Lung Cancer?
  2. How common is it?

ALK+ Biomarker Lung Cancer

Lung cancer researchers have found that  lung cancer is not a single disease. Every lung cancer is unique and one of the keys to effective treatment is in finding out what biomarker is driving your lung cancer. The ALK biomarker (which stands for anaplastic lymphoma kinase) occurs in 1 out of 25 non-small-cell lung cancer patients. ALK+ lung cancer patients tend to be younger and most have never smoked.

How the ALK mutation works

The ALK mutation, or biomarker, is a genetic alteration of your lung cells’ DNA that causes these cells to grow abnormally and ultimately behave as cancer cells. As these cancer cells begin to grow in your lung, they can potentially spread to other parts of your body. When lung cancer (or any cancer) spreads, this is called metastasis.

Among the many different biomarkers known to drive lung cancers to grow, ALK is one of the more treatable. It often responds dramatically to targeted therapy.