Testing and Treating ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 

Over the last decade, advances in diagnostics and treatments for lung cancer have led to the development of targeted therapies for some lung cancer subtypes. Patients with ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are appropriate candidates for such targeted therapy. This lung cancer subtype is rare (40% of NSCLCs are adenocarcinomas and only 5% of these cancers are ALK+). Biomarker testing is needed to identify patients with this subtype and to determine the most appropriate plan of care. However, this can present unique challenges for community-based providers who may only see a few ALK+ NSCLC patients each year.

Practical, Peer-to-Peer Insights on Testing & Treating ALK+ NSCLC

Building on this project's initial findings, in 2017 ACCC conducted a series of focus groups to gain a more in-depth understanding of the landscape of testing and treating patients with ALK+ NSCLC. Then, to learn how five ACCC Cancer Program members are effectively diagnosing and managing patients with ALK+ NSCLC, in 2018 ACCC completed five site visits. Key issues related to this patient population emerging from this project include:

  • appreciating the variety of ways to perform molecular testing on lung cancer biopsy samples, even when samples are of limited size
  • helping providers keep up with evolving treatment guidelines, in particular for a low-volume patient population such as ALK+ NSCLC
  • assessing different options for effectively educating patients and monitoring treatment.

Read this new publication and benefit from peer-to-peer perspectives on these challenges and learn practical approaches to delivery of high quality care for patients with ALK+ NSCLC.

About this Project

ACCC launched this project to support community-based practices and programs in the use of precision medicine and molecular testing in caring for patients with ALK+ NSCLC. The primary goal of this initiative is to provide examples of effective practices for utilizing appropriate molecular testing when treating patients with ALK+ NSCLC.

In 2016, this project explored current barriers and issues related to testing and treating patients with ALK+ NSCLC through an environmental scan, which was also informed by the insights of the project’s expert Advisory Committee.

Read Summary of Findings

Advisory Committee

ACCC thanks the following individuals for providing their expertise and insight to the Testing and Treating ALK+ NSCLC project:

Shirish Gadgeel, MD
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Pablo Gutman, MD, MBA
Department Chair, Pathology
Holy Cross Hospital and Holy Cross Germantown Hospital
Medical Director, Holy Cross Health Cancer Institute

Mohammad Jahanzeb, MD, FACP
Medical Oncologist
University of Miami

Danna Johnson, MD
Chair, Multidisciplinary Cancer Committee
Director Pathology
Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital on the Johnston Willis Campus

Corey Langer, MD
Director, Thoracic Oncology
Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Amy Jo Pixley, MSN, RN, OCN
Oncology Nurse Navigator
Penn Medicine, Lancaster General Hospital

David R. Spigel, MD
Lung Cancer Program Director
Sarah Cannon Research Institute/Tennessee Oncology, PLLC

Alexander Spira, MD
Medical Oncologist
Co-Director US Oncology Thoracic Oncology Program
Virginia Cancer Specialists, PC

H. Jack West, MD
Medical Director
Thoracic Oncology Program, Swedish Cancer Institute

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