Targeting Tropomyosin Receptor Kinase in Cutaneous CYLD Defective Tumors With Pegcantratinib: The TRAC Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Dermatol. 2018 Aug 1;154(8):913-921. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.1610.


Importance: There are no medical interventions for the orphan disease CYLD cutaneous syndrome (CCS). Transcriptomic profiling of CCS skin tumors previously highlighted tropomyosin receptor kinases (TRKs) as candidate therapeutic targets.

Objective: To investigate if topical targeting of TRK with an existing topical TRK inhibitor, pegcantratinib, 0.5% (wt/wt), is safe and efficacious in CCS.

Design, setting, and participants: A phase 1b open-label safety study, followed by a phase 2a within-patient randomized (by tumor), double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (the Tropomyosin Receptor Antagonism in Cylindromatosis [TRAC] trial). The setting was a single-center trial based at a tertiary dermatogenetics referral center for CCS (Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, United Kingdom). Patients who had germline mutations in CYLD or who satisfied clinical diagnostic criteria for CCS were recruited between March 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016.

Interventions: In phase 1b, patients with CCS applied pegcantratinib for 4 weeks to a single skin tumor. In phase 2a, allocation of tumors was to either receive active treatment on the right side and placebo on the left side (arm A) or active treatment on the left side and placebo on the right side (arm B). Patients were eligible if they had 10 small skin tumors, with 5 matched lesions on each body side; patients were randomized to receive active treatment (pegcantratinib) to one body side and placebo to the other side once daily for 12 weeks.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome measure was the number of tumors meeting the criteria for response in a prespecified critical number of pegcantratinib-treated tumors. Secondary clinical outcome measures included an assessment for safety of application, pain in early tumors, and compliance with the trial protocol.

Results: In phase 1b, 8 female patients with a median age of 60 years (age range, 41-80 years) were recruited and completed the study. None of the participants experienced any adverse treatment site reactions. Three patients reported reduced pain in treated tumors. In phase 2a (15 patients [13 female; median age, 51 years], with 150 tumors), 2 tumors treated with pegcantratinib achieved the primary outcome measure of response compared with 6 tumors treated with placebo. The primary prespecified number of responses was not met. The incidence of adverse events was low.

Conclusions and relevance: In this study, pegcantratinib, 0.5% (wt/wt), applied once daily appeared to be well tolerated and to penetrate the tumor tissue; however, the low tumor drug concentrations demonstrated are likely to account for the lack of response. Dose-escalation studies to assess the maximal tolerated dose may be beneficial in future studies of CCS.

Trial registration: Identifier: ISRCTN75715723.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / pathology
  • Deubiquitinating Enzyme CYLD / genetics*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / administration & dosage*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / adverse effects
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Receptor, trkA / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom


  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • pegcantratinib
  • Receptor, trkA
  • CYLD protein, human
  • Deubiquitinating Enzyme CYLD