ALK and ROS1 as a joint target for the treatment of lung cancer: a review
Rearrangements of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) have been described in multiple malignancies, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). ALK fusions have gain of function properties while activating mutations in wild-type ALK can also occur within the tyrosine kinase domain. ALK rearrangements define a new molecular subtype of NSCLC that is exquisitely sensitive to ALK inhibition. Crizotinib, an orally available small molecule ATP-mimetic compound which was originally designed as a MET inhibitor, was recognized to have “off-target” anti-ALK activity and has been approved in the USA for the treatment of patients with ALK-positive NSCLC. Chromosomal rearrangements involving the ROS1 receptor tyrosine kinase have also been recently described in NSCLC, while crizotinib is currently under clinical trial in this molecular subset of NSCLC patients. The basic approaches of any computer aided drug design work in terms of structure and ligand based drug design. Details of each of these approaches should be covered with an emphasis on utilizing both in order to develop multi-targeted small-molecule kinase inhibitors. Such multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors can have antiproliferative activity against both ROS1and ALK rearranged NSCLC. Herein, we highlight the importance of targeting these proteins and the advances in optimizing more potent and selective ALK and ROS1 kinase inhibitors.