Alchemist trials: A golden opportunity to transform outcomes in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer

Ramaswamy Govindan, Sumithra J. Mandrekar, David E. Gerber, Geoffrey R. Oxnard, Suzanne E. Dahlberg, Jamie Chaft, Shakun Malik, Margaret Mooney, Jeffrey S. Abrams, Pasi A. Jänne, David R. Gandara, Suresh S. Ramalingam, Everett E. Vokes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is slowly evolving from empirical cytotoxic chemotherapy to personalized treatment based on specific molecular alterations. Despite this 10-year evolution, targeted therapies have not been studied adequately in patients with resected NSCLC who have clearly defined actionable mutations. The advent of next-generation sequencing has now made it possible to characterize genomic alterations in unprecedented detail. The efforts begun by The Cancer Genome Atlas project to understand the complexities of the genomic landscape of lung cancer will be supplemented further by studying a large number of tumor specimens. The Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trial (ALCHEMIST) is an NCI-sponsored national clinical trials network (NCTN) initiative to address the needs to refine therapy for early-stage NSCLC. This program will screen several thousand patients with operable lung adenocarcinoma to determine whether their tumors contain specific molecular alterations [epidermal growth factor receptor mutation (EGFR) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase rearrangement (ALK)], making them eligible for treatment trials that target these alterations. Patients with EGFR mutation or ALK gene rearrangement in their tumor will be randomized to placebo versus erlotinib or crizotinib, respectively, after completion of their standard adjuvant therapy. ALCHEMIST will also contain a large discovery component that will provide an opportunity to incorporate genomic studies to fully understand the clonal architecture, clonal evolution, and mechanisms of resistance to therapy. In this review, we describe the concept, rationale, and outline of ALCHEMIST and the plan for genomic studies in patients with lung adenocarcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5439-5444
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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