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  • Author: Fei Bao x
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Darren Sigal, Marie Tartar, Marin Xavier, Fei Bao, Patrick Foley, David Luo, Jason Christiansen, Zachary Hornby, Edna Chow Maneval and Pratik Multani

Despite advances in genomic analysis, the molecular origin of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is complex and poorly explained by described oncogenes. The neurotrophic TRK family, including NTRK1, 2, and 3, encode the proteins TRKA, TRKB, TRKC, respectively, involved in normal nerve development. Because NETs develop from the diffuse neuroendocrine system, we sought to determine whether NTRK alterations occur in NETs and whether TRK-targeted therapy would be effective. A patient with metastatic well-differentiated NET, likely of the small intestine, was enrolled on the STARTRK2 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02568267) and tissue samples were analyzed using an RNA-Seq next-generation sequencing platform. An ETV6:NTRK3 fusion was identified and therapy was initiated with the investigational agent entrectinib, a potent oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor of TRKA, TRKB, and TRKC. Upon treatment with entrectinib, the patient experienced rapid clinical improvement; his tumor response was characterized by initial tumor growth and necrosis. This is the first report of an NTRK fusion in NETs. Our patient's response to entrectinib suggests that NTRK fusions can be important in the pathogenesis of NETs. Recent DNA-based genomic analyses of NETs may have missed NTRK fusions due its large gene rearrangement size and multiple fusion partners. The tumor's initial pseudoprogression may represent a unique response pattern for TRK-targeted therapies. An effort to characterize the prevalence of NTRK fusions in NETs using optimal sequencing technology is important.

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Wei Nie, Jie Qian, Mi-Die Xu, Kai Gu, Fang-Fei Qian, Jun Lu, Xue-Yan Zhang, Hui-Min Wang, Bo Yan, Bo Zhang, Shu-Yuan Wang, Fang Hu, Chang-Hui Li, Hua Zhong and Bao-Hui Han

Background: Biomarkers for chemotherapy efficacy in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are lacking. This retrospective study assesses the association between blood-based tumor mutational burden (bTMB) and clinical benefit of chemotherapy. Methods: Clinical and targeted next-generation sequencing data from the OAK trial (training set; n=318) and POPLAR trial (validation set; n=106) in the docetaxel arm were analyzed. The cutoff value of bTMB for outcome prediction was determined based on a time-dependent receiver operating characteristic curve in the training set, and propensity score matching (PSM) was conducted. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Durable clinical benefit (DCB) was defined as OS lasting >12 months. Interaction between treatment and bTMB was assessed in the combined set. Results: A lower bTMB was observed in patients with DCB compared with no durable benefit, and in those with a partial response and stable disease compared with progressive disease. The optimized cutoff value of bTMB for predicting OS was 7 single-nucleotide variants per megabase. In the training set, a low bTMB was significantly associated with longer OS and progression-free survival (PFS). The prognostic value of bTMB was confirmed in the validation set and PSM set. The interaction between bTMB and treatment was significant for PFS (interaction P=.043) in the combined set. Mutations in KEAP1 were associated with high bTMB and a lack of benefit from chemotherapy. Conclusions: Low bTMB is associated with a survival advantage in patients with NSCLC treated with docetaxel, suggesting the prognostic and predictive potential of bTMB for determining chemotherapy efficacy.