A summary of two studies presented at AACR 2013 in Washington, DC:

1.Poster #3493 – As published and reported in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase gene (ALK) fusions have been identified in approximately 5% of nonsmall-cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs) and define a distinct subpopulation of patients with lung cancer who are highly responsive to ALK kinase inhibitors, such as crizotinib. Because of this profound therapeutic implication, the latest National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology recommend upfront ALK screening for all patients with NSCLC. The FDA-approved companion diagnostic test (ie, fluorescence in situ hybridization or FISH) for identification of ALK-positive patients, however, is complex and has considerable limitations in terms of cost and throughput, making it difficult to screen many patients.

Researchers compared the standard FISH assay to an assay developed on the nCounter Analysis System by NanoString. A link to the poster abstract can be found here.

2. Poster #3552 – This poster will showcases the work of researchers from Hospital for Sick Children and other contributing partners about medulloblastoma subgroup-specific differences in recurrent medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood. Despite multi-model treatment strategies, encompassing surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, results in up to 80 percent five-year overall survival, recurrent medulloblastoma is almost always uniformly fatal. A link to the poster abstract can be found here.