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ATA: Bortezomib May Help Halt Advanced Thyroid Cancer

New proteasome inhibitor slows progression of tumors

FRIDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A new treatment option may be available for patients with advanced thyroid cancer. Bortezomib has been shown to be effective in halting the growth of thyroid tumors, according to a study presented this week at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

Steven I. Sherman, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues conducted a multi-center phase II trial to test the safety and efficacy of the drug in patients with metastatic radioiodine-unresponsive differentiated thyroid carcinoma. The patients were given 1.3 mg/m2 of bortezomib intravenously in three-week cycles on days one, four, eight and 11.

Of the 10 patients enrolled to date, six have been evaluated. In four cases the disease stabilized after 18, eight, six and three treatment cycles, respectively. In all four cases, thyroglobulin levels increased by a median of 506 percent. Of the remaining patients, two progressed after four cycles of treatment and one died about five months later. There was one case of pulmonary embolism, one of motor neuropathy and in one case the dosage was reduced due to fatigue.

"This study shows that there are more drugs becoming available that may be able to slow down the progression of cancer, if not shrink the tumors," said Sherman in a statement.

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