Biomarker NTRK Coverage from Every Angle

How Familiar Are Health-Care Professionals With NTRK Fusion Testing in Patients With Solid Tumors?

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

According to findings presented during the 2021 ASCO Quality Care Symposium (Abstract 229) and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the rate of broad testing for NTRK fusions in patients with solid tumors is low, and many health-care professionals may be unclear as to when to consider a TRK inhibitor in these patients. Thus, activities designed to educate health-care professionals who are treating patients with advanced solid tumors would be beneficial, concluded George D. Demetri, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues.

“It is recommended that testing for NTRK fusions occur as early as possible after a diagnosis of advanced disease in patients with solid tumors to inform potential use of TRK inhibitors,” the investigators commented.

For this study, the authors conducted multiple live and online educational activities between 2018 and 2021. They invited oncology health-care professionals and instructed them on NTRK fusion testing and TRK inhibitor treatment for various solid tumors. Each activity included polling questions to understand the participants’ knowledge and practice patterns.

After six live and online sessions, the authors found that 29% of health-care professionals (n = 844) said they ordered molecular profiling to test for NTRK fusions in all solid tumors in their current practice. Low rates of testing were reported in activities focused on TRK inhibitors or NTRK testing throughout the study period. According to the authors, there appeared to be no significant increase in these rates over time.

In addition, the study authors assessed different patient cases across eight activities in which experts recommended the use of TRK inhibitor therapy. They found that many health-care professionals did not select a TRK inhibitor, with considerable variance by tumor type. Specifically, the percentage of health-care professionals recommending the use of a TRK inhibitor was observed to be higher for papillary thyroid cancer, lung cancer, and salivary cancer than for recurrent glioblastoma. For all cases, the professionals selected larotrectinib and/or entrectinib as optimal treatment.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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