ALK Receptor

Normal Biology

  • Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK, CD246) is a tyrosine kinase receptor member of the insulin receptor superfamily.
  • It is primarily expressed in the brain, testis, and small intestine. ALK expression is enhanced in the developing nervous system, with lower expression in adults.
  • In the absence of ligand activation, ALK enhances apoptosis; conversely constitutive activation leads to cell survival and suppressed apoptosis.

Role in Cancer

  • Observed mechanisms of oncogenesis involve overactivation of the ALK receptor through fusion gene formation. The most common is the EML4-ALK fusion, occurring in 2% to 7% f NSCLCs.
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