In results reported on December 20 in Clinical Cancer Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center (MECC) researchers have discovered that crizotinib—a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for treating lung cancer—also appears effective against myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a rare type of blood cancer that causes uncontrolled growth of mature blood cells. Crizotinib was found to be effective in laboratory studies for MPN cells that have developed resistance to standard treatment with JAK kinase-inhibitors such as ruxolitinib.
Kira Gritsman, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues determined that crizotinib works against MPNs by targeting the enzyme RON kinase—which differs from crizotinib’s target in treating small-cell lung cancer. RON kinase activation, in fact, was found to be a key mechanism by which MPNs resist treatment with JAK kinase inhibitors—a finding that could lead to additional approaches for targeting RON kinase in MPN patients. Clinical trials to evaluate crizotinib in treating MPN patients are being planned.
Dr. Gritsman is an associate professor of oncology, of medicine, and of cell biology at Einstein and co-leader of the Stem Cell & Cancer Biology Program at MECC.
Posted on: Tuesday, December 20, 2022