NTRK Gene Fusion in Papillary Thyroid Cancer: A Clinicogenomic Biobank and Record Linkage Study From Finland


“Estimates of the frequency of NTRK gene fusion in large cohorts of patients with solid tumors come from a limited number of studies. [...]. We aimed to address this gap by evaluating patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) from Finland [...]”


BUFFALO, NY- February 19, 2024 – A new research paper was published in Oncotarget's Volume 15 on February 5, 2024, entitled, “Neurotrophic-tyrosine receptor kinase gene fusion in papillary thyroid cancer: A clinicogenomic biobank and record linkage study from Finland.”


Selective tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) inhibitors are approved targeted therapies for patients with solid tumors harboring a neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene fusion. Country-specific estimates of NTRK gene fusion frequency, and knowledge on the characteristics of affected patients, are limited.


In this new study, researchers Wei Zhang, Arndt A. Schmitz, Roosa E. Kallionpää, Merja Perälä, Niina Pitkänen, Mikko Tukiainen, Erika Alanne, Korinna Jöhrens, Renate Schulze-Rath, Bahman Farahmand, and Jihong Zong from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., University of Turku, Turku University Hospital, Technical University Dresden, and Western Finland Cancer Centre identified patients with histologically-confirmed papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) from Finland’s Auria Biobank. 


“The study objectives were to determine the frequency of NTRK gene fusion in patients with PTC in Finland, and to describe co-occurring genetic alternations, clinical characteristics, disease progression, and treatment pathways in NTRK gene fusion positive patients.”


TRK protein expression was determined by pan-TRK immunohistochemistry. Immuno-stained tumor samples were scored by a certified pathologist. Gene fusions and other co-occurring gene alterations were identified by next generation sequencing. Patient characteristics and vital status were determined from linked hospital electronic health records (EHRs). 


Patients were followed from 1 year before PTC diagnosis until death. 6/389 (1.5%) PTC patients had an NTRK gene fusion (all NTRK3); mean age 43.8 years (and none had comorbidities) at PTC diagnosis. Gene fusion partners were EML4 (n = 3), ETV6 (n = 2), and RBPMS (n = 1). Of 3/6 patients with complete EHRs, all received radioactive iodine ablation only and were alive at end of follow-up (median observation, 9.12 years). 


“In conclusion, NTRK gene fusion is infrequent in patients with PTC. Linkage of biobank samples to EHRs is feasible in describing the characteristics and outcomes of patients with PTC and potentially other cancer types.”



Read the full paper: DOI: https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.28555 


Correspondence to: Jihong Zong


Email: [email protected] 


Keywords: NTRK gene fusion, papillary thyroid cancer, clinicogenomic, epidemiology, biobank


Click here to sign up for free Altmetric alerts about this article.

About Oncotarget: Oncotarget (a primarily oncology-focused, peer-reviewed, open-access journal) aims to maximize research impact through insightful peer-review; eliminate borders between specialties by linking different fields of oncology, cancer research and biomedical sciences; and foster application of basic and clinical science.


To learn more about Oncotarget, visit Oncotarget.com and connect with us on social media:

X, formerly Twitter



, and available wherever you listen to podcasts


Click here to subscribe to Oncotarget publication updates.

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].


Oncotarget Journal Office

6666 East Quaker Str., Suite 1A

Orchard Park, NY 14127

Phone: 1-800-922-0957 (option 2)

Copyright © 2024 Impact Journals, LLC
Impact Journals is a registered trademark of Impact Journals, LLC