NTRK1/2/3 clinical trials research targeted therapies for cancer patients who are positive for one of the NTRK fusion gene mutations. According to the National Cancer Institute, the neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene fusion occurs when a chromosome containing NTRK combines with another chromosome. This contributes to the growth of abnormal TRK fusion proteins, which contribute to cancer cell growth. NTRK1, NTRK2, and NTRK3 only differ in the preferred ligand the NTRK gene combines with. The NTRK gene fusions can occur in the following cancer types:
- Pancreatic cancer
- Lung cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Brain cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Soft tissue cancers
Testing for NTRK Fusion Genes
The NTRK gene fusion is rare, despite occurring in several cancer types. For example, in lung and colorectal cancers, prevalence of the NTRK fusions is well below 5%.
To confirm a cancer patient has a mutation, a biopsy, blood, hair, or skin sample is collected. Then, in a laboratory, specific changes in chromosomes, DNA, and proteins are observed. However, for the NTRK fusion genes, there are tests available that identify only the presence of NTRK genes. Since every patient has a unique tumor profile, it is important to consult your doctor on which genetic test could benefit you.
What Treatments Are Available in NTRK1/2/3 Clinical Trials?
Clinical Trials provide alternative treatment options for cancer patients that can be targeted for their tumor’s genetic profile. Targeted therapies interfere with the created TRK fusion proteins to block them from contributing to cancer cell growth. Because these gene mutations are rare and they are found in various cancer types, some clinical trials are available for more than one cancer. There are only two FDA approved targeted drug therapies available for NTRK1/2/3 gene fusions, which include:
Due to the early success of these drugs, the NTRK genes are garnering more attention, which leads to research. New targeted therapies will continue to be developed and researched in clinical trials. Because the FDA’s approval process can take years before a drug is determined to be safe and effective, participating in a clinical trial gives patients early access to these treatments. Speak with your doctor to see if a clinical trial could benefit you.