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What is Zykadia used for?

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Sep 20, 2023.

Official answer


Zykadia (ceritinib) is a medication used to treat adults with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread (metastasized) and whose tumors test positive for anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK).

Mutations in the ALK gene, which provides the code for making a protein called ALK receptor tyrosine kinase, are found in approximately 5 percent of all lung cancers, including 30 percent of all lung cancers diagnosed in patients aged less than 40 years old.

Mutations in the ALK gene were originally found in people with lymphoma, but many of the ALK-positive cancers diagnosed are now found in patients with NSCLC.

The ALK gene plays a role in the development of the nervous system and gut. It is turned off before birth, but in some people the gene is later turned back on and fuses with other genes, such as EML4, which results in an ALK rearrangement or fusion that can cause ALK-positive cancers.

Zykadia is a kinase inhibitor.


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