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Sorafenib Effective for Advanced Thyroid Cancer

Drug improves or maintains disease control in many patients

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- In advanced thyroid cancer, sorafenib improves or maintains disease control in about three-quarters of patients, with acceptable toxicity, according to research published online June 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In an open-label phase II trial, Vandana Gupta-Abramson, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia treated 30 patients who had metastatic, iodine-refractory thyroid carcinoma with 400 mg of sorafenib, a broad-based kinase inhibitor, orally twice a day for a minimum of 16 weeks.

The researchers found that 23 percent of patients had a partial response lasting 18 to 84 weeks and 53 percent of patients had stable disease for 14 to 89 weeks or more. The median progression-free survival was 79 weeks. Of 19 patients with available serial thyroglobulin levels, 95 percent had a marked and rapid reduction in thyroglobulin levels (mean decrease, 70 percent). Toxicity was similar to other sorafenib trials, the report indicates.

"Sorafenib has clinically relevant antitumor activity in patients with metastatic, iodine-refractory thyroid carcinoma," Gupta-Abramson and colleagues conclude. "These results represent a significant advance over chemotherapy in both response rate and progression-free survival and support further investigation of this agent in these patients."

Two of the study co-authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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