Analysis of serious weight gain in patients using alectinib for ALK positive lung cancer

Simon P de Leeuw, Melinda A Pruis, Barend J Sikkema, Mostafa Mohseni, G D Marijn Veerman, Marthe S Paats, Daphne W Dumoulin, Egbert F Smit, Annemie M W J Schols, Ron H J Mathijssen, Elisabeth F C van Rossum, Anne-Marie C Dingemans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Alectinib is a standard-of-care treatment for metastatic ALK+ NSCLC. Weight gain is an unexplored side effect reported in approximately 10%. To prevent or intervene alectinib-induced weight gain, more insight in its extent and etiology is needed. Methods: Change in body composition was analyzed in a prospective series of 46 patients with ALK+ NSCLC, treated with alectinib. Waist circumference, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and skeletal muscle were quantified using sliceOmatic software on computed tomography images at baseline, 3 months (3M), and 1 year (1Y). To investigate an exposure-toxicity relationship, alectinib plasma concentrations were quantified. Four patients with more than 10 kg weight gain were referred to Erasmus MC Obesity Center CGG for in-depth analysis (e.g., assessments of appetite, dietary habits, other lifestyle, medical and psychosocial factors, and extensive metabolic and endocrine assessments, including resting energy expenditure). Results: Mean increase in waist circumference was 9 cm (9.7%, p < 0.001) in 1Y with a 40% increase in abdominal obesity (p = 0.014). VAT increased to 10.8 cm 2 (15.0%, p = 0.003) in 3M and 35.7 cm 2 (39.0%, p < 0.001) in 1Y. SAT increased to 18.8 cm 2 (12.4%, p < 0.001) in 3M and 45.4 cm 2 (33.3%, p < 0.001) in 1Y. The incidence of sarcopenic obesity increased from 23.7% to 47.4% during 1Y of treatment. Baseline waist circumference was a positive predictor of increase in VAT (p = 0.037). No exposure-toxicity relationship was found. In-depth analysis (n = 4) revealed increased appetite in two patients and metabolic syndrome in all four patients. Conclusions: Alectinib may cause relevant increased sarcopenic abdominal obesity, with increases of both VAT and SAT, quickly after initiation. This may lead to many serious metabolic, physical, and mental disturbances in long-surviving patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1030
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number8
Early online date29 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

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