Changes involving the NTRK genes, known as NTRK gene fusions, can be found in less than 1% of all NSCLCs.
In normal cells, the NTRK genes form TRK proteins that play an important role in nervous system development and cell communication. However, NTRK gene fusions can produce abnormal TRK proteins which can cause cancer to develop and grow in sites throughout the body. There can be gene fusions of NTRK1, NRTK2, or NTRK3.
Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) is the first oral ‘TRK inhibitor’ that works by blocking signals that the abnormal TRK proteins send to cells to grow and divide uncontrollably. By blocking this signal, larotrectinib stops the growth and spread of the cancer cells. This drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for advanced cancer, including lung cancer, with NTRK gene fusions.