NTRK fusions in thyroid cancer: Pathology and clinical aspects

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2023 Apr;184:103957. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2023.103957. Epub 2023 Mar 11.


Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer. Neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) fusions are oncogenic drivers in multiple solid tumors, including thyroid cancer. NTRK fusion thyroid cancer has unique pathological features such as mixed structure, multiple nodes, lymph node metastasis, and a background of chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Currently, RNA-based next-generation sequencing is the gold standard for the detection of NTRK fusions. Tropomyosin receptor kinase inhibitors have shown promising efficacy in patients with NTRK fusion-positive thyroid cancer. Efforts to overcome acquired drug resistance are the focus of research concerning next-generation TRK inhibitors. However, there are no authoritative recommendations or standardized procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of NTRK fusions in thyroid cancer. This review discusses current research progress regarding NTRK fusion-positive thyroid cancer, summarizes the clinicopathological features of the disease, and outlines the current statuses of NTRK fusion detection and targeted therapeutic agents.

Keywords: Clinicopathological feature; NTRK; NTRK fusion; TRK inhibitor; Thyroid cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Gene Fusion
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Receptor, trkA / genetics
  • Receptor, trkA / therapeutic use
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / therapy


  • Receptor, trkA
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors