As with most cancer drugs, Mosse said there's a concern that these cancers may eventually develop a resistance to this medication. However, the researchers haven't seen evidence of that yet.
Dr. Rosanna Ricafort, clinical director of the pediatric blood and marrow transplant program at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said, "This is an emerging paradigm in oncology -- we can achieve clinical efficacy with molecularly targeted therapies."
"We need to confirm the efficacy of crizotinib in larger studies, but these findings are very exciting. It was fortunate that crizotinib was already available for adult cancers," she added.
Ricafort said that parents who have a child with one of these cancers should ask their oncologist if their child should be tested for an ALK abnormality because of the potential treatment options. She said she doesn't think the drug will be available outside of a clinical trial for some time.
Mosse agreed that parents should have a discussion about whether their child's cancer should be screened for ALK abnormalities. She added that tumor samples likely need to be sent to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as it may be the only site doing the test right now.
Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Learn more about crizotinib at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Yael Mosse, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, division of oncology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Rosanna Ricafort, M.D., clinical director, pediatric blood and marrow transplant program, The Children's Hospital at Mont
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