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What is the RET biomarker?

The RET (rearranged during transfection) gene is present in each of the cells in our body. RET is involved in several different processes of cell growth.

What does RET positive mean?

If you test positive for the RET alteration, it means that your RET gene is likely driving the growth of your colorectal cancer tumor.

When the RET gene works correctly, it prevents cancer cells from growing. However, sometimes a gene is altered or changed and does not work the way it should. This is called a mutation or alteration. If the RET gene has a mutation, it means that it can actually drive the growth of cancer cells instead of normal cells.

Mutations are either inherited at conception (a germline mutation) or acquired during a person’s lifetime (a somatic mutation). RET mutation changes are acquired.

RET is a frequently altered gene in colorectal cancer, occurring in about three percent of patients.

What testing is required to determine if RET mutations are present in a tumor?

Typically, a sample of the tumor is taken during a biopsy or surgery and is then sent to a laboratory for biomarker testing. Biomarker testing should be done on the primary tumor (where the cancer began) and any metastatic tumors that occur.

What do I do with this information?

Knowing your biomarker status will guide you and your doctor as you choose a personalized treatment plan that will work best for your specific colorectal cancer.

Although there are no FDA-approved treatments to date targeting colorectal cancer with RET alterations, there are clinical trials that are investigating potential treatments for patients with this mutation. 

Talk to your doctor about your eligibility for clinical trials. Matching services can help you find available trials based on your tumor’s biomarker results. You can also use our Clinical Trial Finder to find options that may be right for you.

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