Testing for NTRK Gene Fusions in the Community Setting


Alexander Drilon, MD, discusses what community oncologists should know about testing for  NTRK gene fusions in patients with solid tumors.

Alexander Drilon, MD, medical oncologist and chief of the Early Drug Development Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses what community oncologists should know about testing for NTRK gene fusions in patients with solid tumors.

With more research examining the presence of NTRK gene fusions in solid tumors and the activity of the currently available TRK inhibitors, the more potential there is for superior precision medicines in the community setting. Most recently, multiple studies have shown the promise of larotrectinib (Vitrakvi) as it has elicited robust and durable responses in both adult and pediatric patients.

Drilon notes that a good first step to take when treating a patient with an NTRK fusion-positive tumor is to identify it. Due to the rarity of these fusions and limited exposure to this patient population in community practice, he notes the importance of learning how to test for NTRK fusions.


0:08 | My advice is that people might look at this and say that I've never seen a patient with an NTRK fusion, or in the cancers that I treat, the frequency is rare. But as you can see from the data that's been presented, not just the activity data, but also the safety data, that we have really good drugs. Finding one of these fusions is essentially a jackpot for someone because things can turn around substantially. They can be on it for a very long time, much longer than some of our standard treatments like chemotherapy.

0:44 | I think that as a community, we need to come together to try to increase things like coverage for molecular profiling awareness so that we know how to test for this. Hopefully, by doing that, we'll get ourselves to a better place where it's not so onerous to try to find these, orwe do a large comprehensive test, as mentioned, that looks for this and several other drivers of oncogenesis that might match your patient with a targeted therapy.

Related Videos
Edward B. Garon, MD, MS, and Anne S. Tsao, MD, experts on lung cancer
Related Content