XALKORI NOW AVAILABLE IN CANADA
KIRKLAND, QC, May 30, 2012 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada is pleased to announce
that XALKORI® (crizotinib) is now available in Canada. Recently approved with
conditions by Health Canada, XALKORI is an oral monotherapy for
patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive advanced or
metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).1 XALKORI is Pfizer Canada's first example of personalized medicine for
people with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer.
Lung cancer has been one of the most difficult cancers to treatbecause symptoms typically do not appear until the disease has already
reached an advanced stage.2 Even when symptoms appear, they are often mistaken for other health
problems further delaying patients from receiving the care they may
As a percentage of all cancer deaths, lung cancer kills more Canadians
(27%) than breast cancer (7%), colorectal cancer (12%) and prostate
In 2012, it is estimated that 25,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with
An estimated 12,300 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 9,400
will die from it
An estimated 13,300 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10,800
will die from it.5
Approximately 70 Canadians are diagnosed with lung cancer every day and
55 die of lung cancer every day.5
"Little has changed in the way lung cancer has been treated in the past
40 years6," says Dr. Normand Blais, Hemato-Oncologist at CHUM - Hôpital
Notre-Dame in Montreal. "Previously lung cancer was considered a single
disease. With the discovery of molecular biomarkers, such as ALK, we
now know there are numerous types of lung cancers. New care options for
these types of cancers can give hope to those who are or will be
diagnosed with them."
Non-small cell lung cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the
tissues of the lung.7 Research shows that 54 per cent of lung cancers have molecular
biomarkers that drive tumour growth.8 An estimated three to five per cent of non-small cell lung cancers are
ALK-positive, a genetic alteration discovered less than five years ago
by Japanese researcher Dr. Hiroyuki Mano and his team.9
In ALK-positive lung cancer, a normally dormant gene called ALK is fused
with another gene, predominantly EML4.10 This abnormal gene fusion produces a protein that is believed to be a
key driver of tumour development in cancers such as non-small cell lung
The recent discovery of ALK and other lung cancer biomarkers is the
basis of an evolution in the approach to management of the disease. As
Dr. Blais explains, "Oncologists, such as myself, now have the added
responsibility of assessing other tumour traits with our colleagues and
considering the requirement for additional molecular tests that may
help select therapies for patients."
In the case of XALKORI, using a validated ALK assay, assessment for
ALK-positive advanced or metastatic NSCLC should be performed by
laboratories with demonstrated proficiency in the specific technology
being utilized.1 If it is ALK-positive and advanced (not amenable to curative therapy)
or metastatic then patients can be prescribed XALKORI.
"Personalized medicine is a shift from a one size fits all intervention
to an approach where physicians select treatments based on the genetic
make-up of their patient's disease," says Richard Fajzel, General
Manager of Oncology Business Unit, Pfizer Canada. "Pfizer Canada is
excited to be part of this new landscape that helps Canadians access
new innovative cancer care."
The five year survival rate for Canadians with lung cancer was 16 per
cent between 2004 and 2006.11 "Recent scientific discoveries about the disease have led to the
development of personalized medicines such as XALKORI and IRESSATM which treat lung cancers that have different genetic drivers. These
treatments represent a step forward for our community," says Hailee
Morrison, Executive Director of Lung Cancer Canada. "We are eager for
the day when the survival rate grows."
Patients who have advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer
should speak with their doctor to determine if a molecular test is
required and whether XALKORI is an appropriate treatment for them.
About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, one of the
world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. The company is one of the
largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified
health care portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines
and vaccines for humans and animals, and many of the world's best-known
Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention,
treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our
time. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health
and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Our commitment is
reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease awareness
initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes
more than medication to be truly healthy.
To learn more about Pfizer's More than Medication philosophy and programs, visit www.morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit www.pfizer.ca.
ABOUT LUNG CANCER CANADA
Lung Cancer Canada was founded in 2002 by Dr. Yee Ung, radiation
oncologist at Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Care Centre, Magdalene
Winterhoff, oncology social worker at Toronto Sunnybrook Regional
Cancer Care Centre and Ralph Gouda, who lost his wife to lung cancer.
Originally known as the Alliance for Lung Cancer Awareness, Support and
Education, the name changed to Lung Cancer Canada in 2004. Our mission
is to increase awareness about lung cancer, support patients living
with lung cancer and the individuals who care for them and provide
educational resources to lung cancer patients, their family members and
health care professionals. Visit lungcancercanada.ca.
1 Xalkori (crizotinib) Product Monograph, April 24, 2012.
2 Canadian Cancer Society. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer. 2010.
Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/Canada-wide/About%20cancer/Types%20of%20cancer/Signs%20and%20symptoms%20of%20lung%20cancer.aspx?sc_lang=en [accessed on-line March 6, 2012]
3 Canadian Lung Association. Signs and symptoms. (2010). Available at: http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/cancer-cancer/signs-signes/index_e.php [accessed on-line March 6, 2012]
4 Statistics Canada. Percentage distribution of cancer incidence and
mortality of the four most commonly diagnosed cancers versus all other
types, Canada, 2007. 2011. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2011001/article/chart/11596-01-chart1-eng.htm [accessed on-line March 6, 2012]
5 Canadian Cancer Society. Lung cancer statistics at a glance. 2012.
Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/Canada-wide/About%20cancer/Cancer%20statistics/Stats%20at%20a%20glance/Lung%20cancer.aspx?sc_lang=en [accessed on-line May 9, 2012]
6 Spiro SG, Gerard GA. One hundred years of lung cancer. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2005;172:523-529.
7 National Cancer Institute. Lung Cancer. 2012. Available at: http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/lung [accessed on-line March 6, 2012]
8 London S. Research increasingly points to the role of molecular
diversity in metastatic lung cancer. 2011. Available at: http://www.ascopost.com/articles/october-15-2011-supplement/research-increasingly-points-to-the-role-of-molecular-diversity-in-metastatic-lung-cancer/ [accessed on-line May 3, 2012].
9 Garber K. ALK, lung cancer, and personalized therapy: Portent of the
future?Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2010;102:672-675..
10 Lee YJ, Kim JH, Kim SK, Ha SJ, Mok TS, Mitsudomi T, Cho BC. Lung cancer
in never smokers: change of a mindset in the molecular era. Lung Cancer. 2011;72:9-15.
11 Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian cancer statistics 2011: Featuring
colorectal cancer. 2011. Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/Canadawide/About%20cancer/~/media/CCS/Canada%20wide/Files%20List/English%20files%20heading/PDF%20-%20Policy%20-%20Canadian%20Cancer%20Statistics%20-%20English/Canadian%20Cancer%20Statistics%202011%20-%20English.ashx [accessed on-line February 20, 2012]
SOURCE PFIZER CANADA INC.
Image with caption: "Pfizer Canada XALKORI 200 mg (CNW Group/PFIZER CANADA INC.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120530_C3869_PHOTO_EN_14332.jpg