ALK is a receptor tyrosine kinase, associated with many tumor types as diverse as anaplastic large cell lymphomas, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors, breast and renal cell carcinomas, non-small cell lung cancer, neuroblastomas, and more. This makes ALK an attractive target for cancer therapy. Since ALK–driven tumors are dependent for their proliferation on the constitutively activated ALK kinase, a number of tyrosine kinase inhibitors have been developed to block tumor growth. While some inhibitors are under investigation in clinical trials, others are now approved for treatment, notably in ALK-positive lung cancer. Their efficacy is remarkable, however limited in time, as the tumors escape and become resistant to the treatment through different mechanisms. Hence, there is a pressing need to target ALK-dependent tumors by other therapeutic strategies, and possibly use them in combination with kinase inhibitors. In this review we will focus on the therapeutic potential of proapoptotic ALK-derived peptides based on the dependence receptor properties of ALK. We will also try to make a non-exhaustive list of several alternative treatments targeting ALK-dependent and independent signaling pathways.
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