Diagnosis and Management of Tropomyosin Receptor Kinase Fusion-Positive Thyroid Carcinomas

Diagnosis and Management of Tropomyosin Receptor Kinase Fusion-Positive Thyroid Carcinomas

Robert Haddad, MD1Rossella Elisei, MD2Ana O. Hoff, MD3Zhiyan Liu, MD, PhD4Fabian Pitoia, MD, PhD5Giancarlo Pruneri, MD6,7Peter M. Sadow, MD, PhD8Fernando Soares, MD, PhD9Andrew Turk, MD10Michelle D. Williams, MD11Lori J. Wirth, MD12Maria E. Cabanillas, MD13



Thyroid epithelial malignant neoplasms include differentiated thyroid carcinomas (papillary, follicular, and oncocytic), follicular-derived high-grade thyroid carcinomas, and anaplastic and medullary thyroid carcinomas, with additional rarer subtypes. The discovery of neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene fusions has fostered developments in precision oncology, with the approval of tropomyosin receptor kinase inhibitors (larotrectinib and entrectinib) for patients with solid tumors, including advanced thyroid carcinomas, harboring NTRK gene fusions.


The relative rarity and diagnostic complexity of NTRK gene fusion events in thyroid carcinoma present several challenges for clinicians, including variable access to robust methodologies for comprehensive NTRK fusion testing and poorly defined algorithms of when to test for such molecular alterations. To address these issues in thyroid carcinoma, 3 consensus meetings of expert oncologists and pathologists were convened to discuss diagnostic challenges and propose a rational diagnostic algorithm. Per the proposed diagnostic algorithm, NTRK gene fusion testing should be considered as part of the initial workup for patients with unresectable, advanced, or high-risk disease as well as following the development of radioiodine-refractory or metastatic disease; testing by DNA or RNA next-generation sequencing is recommended. Detecting the presence of NTRK gene fusions is important to identify patients eligible to receive tropomyosin receptor kinase inhibitor therapy

Conclusions and Relevance

This review provides practical guidance for optimal integration of gene fusion testing, including NTRK gene fusion testing, to inform the clinical management in patients with thyroid carcinoma.

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