Researchers with UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center found during a recent trial that Larotrectinib, a cancer-treatment drug targeting a specific gene fusion occurring in certain types of cancerous tumors, was 93% effective in treating pediatric cancer cases.
The report, published in The Lancet Oncology, covered 24 cases between Dec 21, 2015, and April 13, 2017, that involved a specific gene fusion wherein tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fuses with another gene inside the cancer cell, causing uncontrolled TRK growth. The subjects underwent trials with Larotrectinib.
Although TRK fusion occurs in a small amount of common adult cancers, higher rates occur in rare pediatric cancers such as infantile fibrosarcoma, cellular congenital mesoblastic nephroma, and papillary thyroid cancer, according to a statement by Dr. Ted Laetsch, assistant professor of pediatrics with the center.
The drug hones in on the TRK receptors instead of indiscriminately affecting entire organs or areas of the body, which UT Southwestern says reduces side effects for patients.