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Novel Drug Effective in Some Advanced Thyroid Cancers

Motesanib diphosphate is associated with a 14 percent objective response rate

WEDNESDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Use of motesanib diphosphate -- a novel oral inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors -- may be an effective treatment for some patients with advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer, according to research published in the July 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Steven I. Sherman, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues conducted an open-label, single-group, phase 2 study in which 93 patients with progressive, locally advanced or metastatic, radioiodine-resistant differentiated thyroid cancer received daily doses of motesanib diphosphate.

The researchers found that 13 patients (14 percent) had a partial response. They also found that 67 percent of patients achieved stable disease, 35 percent maintained a stable disease for at least 24 weeks, and that the median progression-free survival was 40 weeks. They identified the most common treatment-related adverse events as diarrhea (59 percent), hypertension (56 percent), fatigue (46 percent) and weight loss (40 percent).

The results suggest "clinically meaningful" tumor control, the authors write. "However, a broader applicability of treatment that inhibits angiogenesis in thyroid cancer needs to be established in further studies."

The study was supported by Amgen. Several study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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