Spotlight on the treatment of infantile fibrosarcoma in the era of neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase inhibitors: International consensus and remaining controversies

Daniel Orbach, Monika Sparber-Sauer, Theodore W. Laetsch, Veronique Minard-Colin, Stefan S. Bielack, Michela Casanova, Nadege Corradini, Ewa Koscielniak, Monika Scheer, Simone Hettmer, Gianni Bisogno, Douglas S. Hawkins, Andrea Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Targeted neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) inhibitors offer a highly specific therapeutic option for patients with infantile fibrosarcoma (IFS) carrying the NTRK gene translocation. International recommendations are needed to define the role of TRK inhibitors (TRKI) for infants with IFS. We analysed retrospective data for all published patients with IFS in the European Paediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group and Cooperative Weichteilsarkomstudiengruppe (CWS) experience and developed a consensus strategy with the Children's Oncology Group. Therapies consisted of tumour resection and/or perioperative chemotherapy for extensive tumours. Among the 172 European patients treated, 162 were alive at the end of the follow-up. Sixty-five patients (40% of all survivors) were treated with surgery alone and 64 patients (39%) with surgery combined with chemotherapy. Radiotherapy was delivered to 3% of survivors (five patients). In addition, 28 survivors (17%) exclusively received chemotherapy. Among the 129 patients treated with surgery, 91% had conservative surgery (118 cases). Overall, nine patients died of disease, one from toxicity (6%) and 20 patients (12%) survived with major functional deficits or had mutilating surgery. Overall, conventional conservative strategies before the era of targeted therapy, even in the case of extensive tumours, demonstrate efficacy in IFS, but are associated with acute and some chronic side effects. TRKI have demonstrated very rapid responses in the vast majority of children with IFS with limited acute toxicity. With the current state of our knowledge, both conventional chemotherapy and TRKI should be regarded as options for patients with localised disease at the physician's and parent's discretion. TRKI should be considered in patients with metastatic disease, and before mutilating surgery when conventional chemotherapy fails. Outside a clinical trial, additional data are needed to resolve the lack of consensus about front-line use of conventional chemotherapy versus TRKI in patients with localised disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Conservative surgery
  • Infantile fibrosarcoma
  • NTRK inhibitors
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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