Lung cancer is a common cancer that affects many people in the United States. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a gene-driven disease that accounts for more than 80% of all lung cancer cases. There are many different genetic mutations and/or rearrangements that can cause this type of cancer to grow. The most prominent genetic alterations include EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and RET. RET rearrangements and fusions are rare genetic alterations occurring in 1% to 2% of patients with NSCLC.
RET is responsible for many normal functions in your body, including cell growth and survival. RET mutations and/or rearrangements may result in overexpression of the RET protein, which can result in lung cancer development and growth by constantly instructing cancer cells to divide and mature. There are multiple types of rearrangements or fusions that cause these tumors to grow and survive. The most common RET rearrangements include KIF5B and CCDC6. Patients that are under 60 years old, never or light smokers, and those with adenocarcinoma histology are more likely to be RET rearrangement positive.