ESMO recommendations on the standard methods to detect NTRK fusions in daily practice and clinical research

C Marchiò, M Scaltriti, M Ladanyi, A J Iafrate, F Bibeau, M Dietel, J F Hechtman, T Troiani, F López-Rios, J-Y Douillard, F Andrè, J S Reis-Filho
Annals of Oncology: Official Journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology 2019 September 1, 30 (9): 1417-1427

BACKGROUND: NTRK1, NTRK2 and NTRK3 fusions are present in a plethora of malignancies across different histologies. These fusions represent the most frequent mechanism of oncogenic activation of these receptor tyrosine kinases, and biomarkers for the use of TRK small molecule inhibitors. Given the varying frequency of NTRK1/2/3 fusions, crucial to the administration of NTRK inhibitors is the development of optimal approaches for the detection of human cancers harbouring activating NTRK1/2/3 fusion genes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Experts from several Institutions were recruited by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Translational Research and Precision Medicine Working Group (TR and PM WG) to review the available methods for the detection of NTRK gene fusions, their potential applications, and strategies for the implementation of a rational approach for the detection of NTRK1/2/3 fusion genes in human malignancies. A consensus on the most reasonable strategy to adopt when screening for NTRK fusions in oncologic patients was sought, and further reviewed and approved by the ESMO TR and PM WG and the ESMO leadership.

RESULTS: The main techniques employed for NTRK fusion gene detection include immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), RT-PCR, and both RNA-based and DNA-based next generation sequencing (NGS). Each technique has advantages and limitations, and the choice of assays for screening and final diagnosis should also take into account the resources and clinical context.

CONCLUSION: In tumours where NTRK fusions are highly recurrent, FISH, RT-PCR or RNA-based sequencing panels can be used as confirmatory techniques, whereas in the scenario of testing an unselected population where NTRK1/2/3 fusions are uncommon, either front-line sequencing (preferentially RNA-sequencing) or screening by immunohistochemistry followed by sequencing of positive cases should be pursued.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"