Geoffrey R. Oxnard, MD, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, thoracic oncologist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses RET fusions in non–small cell lung cancer.
Geoffrey R. Oxnard, MD, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, thoracic oncologist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses RET fusions in patients with non—small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
RET fusions are very rare in NSCLC, but they are seen as frequently as ROS1 fusions, which have become its own established subset of lung cancer. RET are more rare than ALK mutations. Oxnard says that researchers know these mutations can be very targetable despite their uniqueness. About 1% to 2% of patients with NSCLC will present with RET fusions. It is more common to see this in adenocarcinomas or patients who are never- or light-smokers.
RET fusions are still seen on standard next-generation sequencing panels. Just like ALK and ROS1, Oxnard says it’s important for researchers to understand that RET can be targeted. It’s worth noting that the current liquid biopsy technology is not sophisticated enough to pick up most types of fusions. If a liquid biopsy turns up negative, another analysis of the tumor should be done to get definitive results.