Testing for TRK and Other Emerging Targeted Therapy Driven Approaches in Head and Neck Cancers
This event is supported by an educational grant from Bayer
5' upstream gene partner
3' NTRK1, NTRK2, or NTRK3
NTRK Gene Fusions
NTRK gene fusions are targetable driver genomic alterations. These code for fusion proteins and drive tumorigenesis [1-3].
All identified NTRK gene fusions involve joining of the 3’ region of the NTRK gene, including the kinase domain, with the 5’ region of a different gene (i.e. the fusion partner) by intra- or inter-chromosomal rearrangement [1, 4].
The protein resulting from transcription and translation of the fusion is a chimeric oncoprotein. This oncoprotein is characterised by ligand-independent continual activation and overexpression of the TRK protein kinase [1, 4]. The TRK protein kinase domain is always present in TRK fusion proteins . In contrast, the transmembrane domain is not present in all TRK protein fusions, suggesting it is not required for kinase activation but perhaps has a different function (e.g. cellular localisation) .
The resulting fusion protein is oncogenic and results in constitutive activation of signalling pathways including the MAPK, PI3K and PKC pathway .
TRK Fusion Protein Structure
Tyrosine kinase domain
The transmembrane domain of the TRK protein is only present in select fusions
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Chen Y, Chi P. Basket trial of TRK inhibitors demonstrates efficacy in TRK fusion-positive cancers. J Hematol Oncol 2018; 11: 78.
Amatu A, Sartore-Bianchi A, Siena S. NTRK gene fusions as novel targets of cancer therapy across multiple tumour types. ESMO Open 2016; 1: e000023.
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Full Slide Pathology
Targeting NTRK Gene Fusions
Frequency and Sites of NTRK Gene Fusions in Adults and Pediatric Cancers
Cancers enriched for TRK fusions
Secretory breast carcinoma
Cellular and mixed congential mesoblastic nephoroma
Cancers harbouring TRK fusions at lower frequencies
Frequency 5% - 25%
Gastrointestional stromal tumor (pan-negative)
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia, histiocytosis, multiple myeloma and dendritic cell neoplasms
Head and neck cancer
Renal cell carcinoma