Novel Approach to Next-Generation Sequencing of NTRK Tumors


Lori J. Wirth, MD, discusses a new assay with the ability to perform DNA and RNA sequencing to better detect gene fusions.

Lori J. Wirth, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and medical director of the Center for Head and Neck Cancers at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses a new assay with the ability to perform DNA and RNA sequencing.

When it comes to next-generation sequencing, DNA sequencing alone is not a good testing method for identified fusions in patients with cancer. According to Wirth, in addition to mutation, insertions, and deletions, fusions are important biomarkers. This fact was demonstrated through a real-world study for which data were presented at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

The study utilized the Tempus assay which has the ability to perform both DNA and RNA sequencing, explains Wirth.


0:08 | One thing that I think is important to highlight as well related to data from ASCO and NTRK is 1 report. That was an analysis of a real-world experience with Tempus in genotyping tumors in order to identify mutations, insertions, deletions, and fusions. Fusions in this setting are so important. And we have to remember, fusions can be difficult to detect, particularly with DNA sequencing. And the Tempus assay, it incorporates both DNA sequencing as well as RNA sequencing in order for it to complete the biomarker testing for patients with advanced cancer who need treatment.

0:49 | And this real-world analysis did show that DNA sequencing alone isn't all that great at detecting fusions RNA sequencing alone is better, but you put the 2 together. And that's where you get the highest detection rate of these oncogenic kinase fusions that are becoming more and more targetable in oncology. So, I think that that biomarker testing issue remains a very important aspect of the forefront of this new precision oncology drugs.

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