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Cancers Containing NRG1-Fusions Show Scant Co-Occurring Mutations

In a paper appearing in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, a team from Labcorp, OmniSeq, Personal Genome Diagnostics, Illumina, and elsewhere tally fusions involving the NRG1 gene in thousands of cancer samples. The researchers did RNA sequencing on nearly 4,400 fresh frozen paraffin-embedded tumor samples from tumors with relatively low levels of known driver mutations, uncovering NRG1 fusions in samples from 17 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or other cancer types. These included fusions involving several different NRG1 introns and 19 other genes, including 11 genes not found in NRG1 fusions in prior cancer studies. "The overall lack of co-occurring drivers highlights the importance of identifying NRG1 gene fusions, as these patients are unlikely to harbor other targetable alterations," the authors report, noting that RNA sequencing "increases the detection rate for NRG1 fusions and offers another potential therapy option for patients with advanced cancer."