What is Gene Fusion?

Video Transcript

Genes are portions of our DNA that contain detailed instructions that determine the specific traits we exhibit.

For example, our genes determine our height, our hair texture and color, our eye color and whether we have freckles. Sometimes our genes can even predispose us to certain diseases.

Our genes function when they are turned on, during a process called gene expression. The DNA gene sequence is copied into RNA, which is then converted into a protein. The protein that is created will then carry out a specific function in the cell.


Sometimes, errors occur, and regions of DNA will become structurally rearranged. These errors can cause a change in the way the DNA strand is organized by moving large regions of DNA into the wrong location on the strand. If the rearrangement places two, initially independent genes together in close proximity, the cell may read them as one gene. This is called gene fusion. A gene fusion results in a hybrid protein containing the features of both genes. This hybrid protein can promote tumor growth.


Some fusion proteins can drive cancer formation. These fusion proteins have been discovered in a wide variety of cancer types including, soft tissue sarcoma, cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, bladder, colon, rectum and tumors of the central nervous system. Gene fusions can be highly specific and can result in personalized targets when it comes to cancer treatment. They can be used as effective diagnostic tools, provide greater accuracy in developing a prognosis, and directed targeted therapies that can specifically inhibit the mutant protein.


To detect gene fusions, Caris performs MI Transcriptome testing which covers 22,000 genes and can even detect the rarest fusion events. MI Transcriptome is superior to other test methods because it can identify both known and new fusions. Utilizing Caris testing , we can differentiate patients who could potentially have a positive response to targeted therapy as well as patients who would likely respond to other treatment options. This information is powerful for your physician to have in order to recommend the best therapy for you.

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Patient Education Videos

The Central Principles of Molecular Biology video series is meant to help explain molecular profiling and cancer, so that you can understand how Caris molecular profiling helps fight cancer through precision oncology.