ASCO 2019: Larotrectinib Continues to Show Promise in Treating Brain Cancer

Larotrectinib, a targeted therapy, continues to show promise in treating patients with brain cancer in the latest clinical research. Data underscores the importance of patients having molecular cancer testing to identify those who may benefit from this treatment. Specifically, it was noted that TRK fusions are difficult to detect with genomic sequencing alone, and it is important to also do an RNA-based analysis. Therefore, the type of test done is important because the physician would need to see both the RNA and DNA results to know if a TRK fusion is present in the tumor.

Patients with tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusion cancer with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, or brain metastases, who were treated with larotrectinib had a 36 percent overall response rate. Of the 36 percent, 14 percent of patients had a complete response and 21 percent had a partial response. The remaining 64 percent of patients were stable with no signs of the disease worsening. In total, 14 patients with primary CNS tumors from three different clinical trials were studied. Five patients with non-primary CNS tumors and brain metastases treated with larotrectinib also were studied. Of those patients, 60 percent had an overall response rate; the remaining 40 percent had stable disease. Again, no patients had signs of the disease worsening while on larotrectinib.

Larotrectinib is designed to target the neurotropic tropomyosin receptor kinase (NTRK) fusion to stop, reverse, and/or kill tumor growth no matter what type of cancer the patient has or where the tumor is in the patient’s body.

This latest research, which was presented by Dr. Alexander Drilon at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, is the first of its kind about a TRK inhibitor that includes data about younger patients as well as adults. Larotrectinib is designed to target the neurotropic tropomyosin receptor kinase (NTRK) fusion to stop, reverse, and/or kill tumor growth no matter what type of cancer the patient has or where the tumor is in the patient’s body. The research suggests that larotrectinib could treat TRK fusion cancer across different tumor types and ages. In November 2018, Larotrectinib was given a fast-track approval by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with advanced solid tumors that have the NTRK fusion.


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