Tumour response to TRK inhibition in a patient with pancreatic adenocarcinoma harbouring an NTRK gene fusion

Abstract
Background

Although rare, NTRK gene fusions are known to be oncogenic drivers in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We report the response of a metastatic CTRC-NTRK1 gene fusion-positive PDAC to targeted treatment with the oral tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) inhibitor larotrectinib and the eventual development of resistance to treatment.

Patient, methods and results

A 61-year-old woman presented with a 2.5-cm mass in the body of the pancreas and a 1.2-cm liver lesion on routine follow-up for endometrial cancer that was in complete remission. Liver biopsy confirmed a primary PDAC unrelated to the endometrial cancer. The patient was treated with gemcitabine, nab-paclitaxel and ADI-PEG 20 for 12 months until disease progression and toxicity emerged [best overall response (BOR): partial response (PR)]. The patient switched to a modified regimen of folinic acid, fluorouracil, irinotecan and oxaliplatin for 4 months until neuropathy occurred. Oxaliplatin was withheld until disease progression 6 months later (BOR: stable disease). Despite recommencing oxaliplatin, the disease continued to progress. At this time, somatic profiling of the liver lesion revealed a CTRC-NTRK1 gene fusion. Treatment with larotrectinib 100 mg twice daily was commenced with BOR of PR at 2 months. The patient progressed after 6 months and was re-biopsied. Treatment was switched to the investigational next-generation TRK inhibitor LOXO-195 (BAY 2731954) 100 mg twice daily. After 2 months, the disease progressed and dabrafenibtrametinib combination therapy was initiated due to existence of a BRAF-V600E mutation. However, the cancer continued to progress and the patient died 2 months later.

Conclusions

Targeted TRK inhibition with larotrectinib in PDAC harbouring a CTRC-NTRK1 gene fusion is well tolerated and can improve quality of life for the patient. However, acquired resistance to therapy can emerge in some patients. Next-generation TRK inhibitors such as LOXO-195 are currently in development to overcome this resistance (NCT02576431; NCT03215511).

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