Crizotinib Versus Conventional Chemotherapy in First-Line Treatment for ALK-Positive Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Barbara D. Cruz*, Mariana M. Barbosa, Lucas L. Torres, Pamela S. Azevedo, Vânia E.A. Silva, Brian Godman, Juliana Alvares-Teodoro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer and the main cause of death from malignant neoplasms worldwide. One of the most recent discoveries in the context of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was the mutation of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase receptor (ALK). This genetic alteration is found in approximately 2–5% of NSCLC patients, and crizotinib was the first targeted therapy discovered for its first-line treatment. Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the magnitude of the overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) from using crizotinib as treatment compared to traditional chemotherapy to guide future decision making. Methods: PRISMA and Cochrane recommendations were followed using the findings based on studies published in the main international electronic databases. Selection criteria included the following: randomized clinical trials (RCT) or cohort studies that had assessed the efficacy and effectiveness of crizotinib as monotherapy in patients with NSCLC with ALK fusions. Results: From 2504 publications identified in the literature, only eight publications referring to seven studies met the selection criteria, with high heterogeneity identified between the studies. Overall, there was a significant gain in PFS (HR 0.38; 95% CI 0.30–0.49; p < 0.00001); however, there was no significant gain in OS (HR 0.68; 95% CI 0.43–1.08; p = 0.10). Conclusion: The study highlighted and confirmed that treatment with crizotinib led to clinical improvement in PFS among patients with advanced NSCLC with ALK fusion, as previously reported. However, there was no increase in overall survival in patients with NSCLC with genetic alterations of ALK. This must be considered when reviewing and funding treatments for NSCLC patients with this mutation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-524
Number of pages20
JournalOncology and Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Anaplastic lymphoma kinase
  • Crizotinib
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficacy
  • Lung cancer
  • Systematic review


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