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What type of drug is Lorbrena?

Medically reviewed by Judith Stewart, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 28, 2023.

What condition is it used to treat?

Official answer


Lorbrena is an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) used for the treatment of patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 80-85% of all lung cancers. About 5% of NSCLC patients have a rearrangement in their ALK gene that produces an abnormal protein which can cause the cancer cells to grow and spread.

ALK-positive tumors are diagnosed using an FDA-approved genetic test.

ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors work to shrink tumors by targeting the abnormal ALK protein. Lorbrena was designed to inhibit the ALK protein, including ALK that has become resistant to other ALK inhibitors. Other ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors include crizotinib (Xalkori), ceritinib (Zykadia), alectinib (Alecensa), and brigatinib (Alunbrig)

Lorbrena was first approved in 2018 for the treatment of patients with ALK-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease had progressed on crizotinib and at least one other ALK inhibitor for metastatic disease; or whose disease had progressed on alectinib or ceritinib as the first ALK inhibitor therapy for metastatic disease.

In 2021, the FDA approved the use of Lorbrena as a first-line treatment of people with ALK-positive NSCLC.

Lorbrena is an oral tablet that is taken once daily, with or without food.

Common side effects include edema, peripheral neuropathy, weight gain, cognitive effects, fatigue, dyspnea, arthralgia, diarrhea, mood effects, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and cough.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Lorbrena Product Label. Available at [Accessed March 10, 2021]
  • American Cancer Society. Targeted Drug Therapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Available at [Accessed March 10, 2021]
  • American Lung Association. ALK and Lung Cancer. Available at [Accessed March 10, 2021]

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