Prevalence and Clinical Outcomes for Patients With ALK-Positive Resected Stage I to III Adenocarcinoma: Results From the European Thoracic Oncology Platform Lungscape Project

Fiona H. Blackhall, Solange Peters, Lukas Bubendorf, Urania Dafni, Keith M. Kerr, Henrik Hager, Alex Soltermann, Kenneth J. O'Byrne, Christoph Dooms, Aleksandra Sejda, Javier Hernandez-Losa, Antonio Marchetti, Spasenija Savic, Qiang Tan, Erik Thunnissen, Ernst-Jan M. Speel, Richard Cheney, Daisuke Nonaka, Jeroen de Jong, Miguel MartorellIgor Letovanec, Rafael Rosell, Rolf A. Stahel*

*Corresponding author for this work

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124 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose The prevalence of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene fusion (ALK positivity) in early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) varies by population examined and detection method used. The Lungscape ALK project was designed to address the prevalence and prognostic impact of ALK positivity in resected lung adenocarcinoma in a primarily European population. Methods Analysis of ALK status was performed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) in tissue sections of 1,281 patients with adenocarcinoma in the European Thoracic Oncology Platform Lungscape iBiobank. Positive patients were matched with negative patients in a 1: 2 ratio, both for IHC and for FISH testing. Testing was performed in 16 participating centers, using the same protocol after passing external quality assessment. Results Positive ALK IHC staining was present in 80 patients (prevalence of 6.2%; 95% CI, 4.9% to 7.6%). Of these, 28 patients were ALK FISH positive, corresponding to a lower bound for the prevalence of FISH positivity of 2.2%. FISH specificity was 100%, and FISH sensitivity was 35.0% (95% CI, 24.7% to 46.5%), with a sensitivity value of 81.3% (95% CI, 63.6% to 92.8%) for IHC 2+/3+ patients. The hazard of death for FISH-positive patients was lower than for IHC-negative patients (P = .022). Multivariable models, adjusted for patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics, and matched cohort analysis confirmed that ALK FISH positivity is a predictor for better overall survival (OS). Conclusion In this large cohort of surgically resected lung adenocarcinomas, the prevalence of ALK positivity was 6.2% using IHC and at least 2.2% using FISH. A screening strategy based on IHC or H-score could be envisaged. ALK positivity (by either IHC or FISH) was related to better OS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2780-+
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014

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