The tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) family of proteins is encoded by neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) genes and has a role in the development and normal functioning of the nervous system. NTRK gene fusions have been identified as oncogenic drivers in a wide range of tumors in both adult and pediatric patients. There has recently been a paradigm shift in cancer treatment toward biomarker-based targeted therapies, as an increasing number of actionable targets are being identified across different tumors and/or tumor histologies. These targeted agents offer greater comparative effectiveness and safety vs historical nontargeted standard therapies. The development of drugs that specifically target oncogenic drivers of cancer has led to the emergence of screening technologies to identify the patients most likely to benefit from targeted therapy. This review describes the role of NTRK gene fusions in cancer and outlines the epidemiology of NTRK gene fusions, the therapeutic benefits of targeting TRK fusions with small molecule inhibitors, and recommendations for NTRK gene fusion testing in adult and pediatric patients with cancer, in order to guide treatment decisions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy